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.
“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.”
“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.
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.”
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