John “Butch” Gleason loved basketball.
The only thing the former Ocean City High School athlete loved more was his family (though thoroughbred racing and certain special sandwiches belong on the list, too).
On Saturday an event will be held at OCHS that brings together basketball and the Gleason family in a tribute to Butch’s memory and for a good cause.
And this year’s event will also include a 40th year reunion tribute to the girls basketball team that won the South Jersey championship in 1979. Coach Pat Dougherty and many of her players will be introduced prior to the start of the girls game.
Nine years ago Gleason (above), a close friend of Temple University basketball coach Fran Dunphy, brought the idea of a Coaches vs. Cancer event to his alma mater. Butch was a member of the last OCHS boys basketball team to win a state championship. Dunphy was president of Coaches vs Cancer.
It started with a single boys game then expanded to a Saturday event including a girl-boy doubleheader. Two years ago, a girl-boy doubleheader between the Ocean City Intermediate School and Upper Township Middle School was added.
Through the years the event in the Dixie Howell Gym has raised nearly $20,000 for the American Cancer Society. When Gleason died in 2014, the fund-raising event was renamed The Butch Gleason Memorial Coaches vs Cancer Day.
The 2019 event will be held this Saturday with the middle school doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. and the Ocean City High School teams playing a girl-boy doubleheader against Egg Harbor Township starting at 4 p.m..
There will be a half-court shootout for fans at halftime of the high school games for Johnson’s Popcorn gift certificates and Coaches vs Cancer items and certificates will be available for purchase. A silent auction will take place all day with the winners being announced following the boys game. A list of auctions items is below, with additional items possibly added.
Come out on Saturday, if you can. You will see some good basketball and you can contribute to a worthy cause. If you cannot get there Saturday, contributions can be made out to Coaches vs Cancer and mailed to Post Office Box 21, Ocean City, 08226.
It will help the cause and continue the tribute to Butch Gleason.
Saturday’s Coaches vs. Cancer Auction Items
baseball bat signed by Mike Trout
2018 NCAA Final Four program autographed by Jay Wright
foursome at Atlantic City Country Club
basketball autographed by OCHS Boys varsity team and coaches
basketball autographed by OCHS Girls varsity team and coaches
tickets to Flyers-Jets game
tickets to Villanova-Butler game
tickets to Temple-UCF game
tickets to Temple-UConn game
tickets to St. Joseph-LaSalle game
NBC Sports gift bags
set of OCHS Sports in the Sixties/Seventies/Eighties books
University of Kentucky gear
gift bag of H20+ skin care supplies
baseball signed by Bruce Beaver & Ron Moretti
lower level tickets to game at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena next season
gift package from Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge
car detailing from Car Caress large tubs of Johnson’s Popcorn