2014-15 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day

Media Day: Oct. 22 at noon PT
Live on Pac-12 Networks

How Arizona women's basketball's Niya Butts started a summer craze

SAN FRANCISCO – Surely you watched a video or 20 of some celebrity dumping ice water over his or her head this summer. That's because seemingly everybody was doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

But before there was the Ice Bucket Challenge, there was the Cold Water Challenge, started by Arizona head coach Niya Butts to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

“It started as a funny joke, actually. [Assistant coach Calamity McEntire] came to me one day and said, ‘Coach, have you seen these Cold Water Challenges that people are doing online?’” Butts said Wednesday at 2014-15 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day.

Channel Finder >>

“It sounds funny and interesting, but I don’t think anybody would just do it to do it … cancer has affected all our lives one way or another, whether it’s a friend, family member, spouse or whoever, so [I thought] let’s attach it to the Kay Yow Foundation. So if people do it, it’s going to be outstanding, and if they don’t, at least we would have gotten some type of message out there.”

Consider the message received. The accompanying hashtag, #Chillin4Charity, reached more than 30 million people on Twitter by the end of June.

“It just kind of caught on, and obviously it was a great deal for the Kay Yow Foundation, but also to raise [breast cancer] awareness, and that’s something we certainly need,” Butts said.

[Related: No rules changes, same points of emphasis for Pac-12 officiating]

Of course, it didn’t hurt that there were some peripheral benefits to those who participated in the Cold Water Challenge.

“How competitive are we as coaches? Do you think those coaches are going to pass up an opportunity to have a recruiting showcase on camera, which it basically turned into?” Butts quipped. “Which was fine. I’m OK with that, because at least [the Kay Yow Cancer Fund] got some benefit from that and raised awareness.”

Now on Pac-12 Network
6:00 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder