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In UB Football 101, women tackle breast cancer

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published August 1, 2013

“We’re here to get the word out, educate people about breast cancer, and if they have breast cancer, offer them an exciting night out so they can forget about it.”
Shannon Quinn, wife of Head Coach Jeff Quinn
UB Football

The women of Western New York had a chance to test their throwing arms Tuesday night at the third annual Football 101 for Women.

Participants crowded onto the field at UB Stadium to run, throw, catch and even tackle the football coaching staff. The evening provided a fun environment for women to learn the basics of football while supporting breast cancer awareness and research.

Each year, the women behind UB football raise between three and five thousand dollars through a $30 admission fee for the event, an  auction and donations. The money is given to the Breast Cancer Network of Western New York, an organization that provides education, advocacy, support and networking for people affected by the disease, and the Bella Moglie Foundation, a program that seeks to bring comfort to women suffering from Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. 

“Many women know a family member or friend who suffers from breast cancer,” says Shannon Quinn, the program coordinator and wife of UB head football coach Jeff Quinn. “We’re here to get the word out, educate people about breast cancer, and if they have breast cancer, offer them an exciting night out so they can forget about it.”

Though this summer marks the program’s third year at UB, Shannon Quinn has helped organize Football 101 for Women at the previous universities where her husband coached, including the University at Cincinnati and the University at Notre Dame, where Football 101 began.
 
She is not the only UB woman involved. For Angela Spieler, wife of Bulls co-special teams coordinator Marty Spieler, the program recently gained a new significance.
 
“Since we started this at UB, my mom has passed away from breast cancer,” says Spieler. “Tonight has become more of a reason for me to come out and support the research, and to make people more aware of the local resources available to them.”

This year, Kamlesh Tripathi, wife of President Satish Tripathi, and Barbara Morgan, wife of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Zukoski, participated in UB Football 101. The program partners with local businesses: Guests receive information on how to schedule appointments for a mammogram with local doctors, a test Quinn believes is key in the fight against breast cancer.
 
For the price of admission, participants also received:

  • Dinner with the UB football players and coaching staff, including head coach Jeff Quinn
  • A tour of the varsity weight training facilities and locker rooms
  • A quick lesson on the rules of football from a NCAA referee, and on basic play calls by the football coaching staff
  • A fashion show starring UB football players modeling their uniforms and athletic gear
  • A ticket to UB football’s home opener against Stony Brook University
  • And a chance to step onto the field and practice the same drills as the players.

“It’s going to be hard for you to yell at our quarterback on a Saturday afternoon after you’ve tried to spiral the ball yourself,” Shannon Quinn jokes.

She hopes that by the end of the night, the women on the field feel like a part of the UB family and understand there are more ways to become involved with athletics at the university than buying a ticket.

“A lot of people tonight will meet and embrace our players, and in a way adopt them,” she says. “So when they attend the games, they are cheering for whoever they meet here tonight instead of just a number.
 
“We support them in breast cancer, they support UB athletics, and together, we all reach the goal line."