Menomonie (WQOW) -- The college basketball season inches closer - Wisconsin opens their season with an exhibition game, this year, hosting UW-Stout at the Kohl Center on November 5th.
On Thursday, Badgers Head Coach Greg Gard is on Stout's campus hosting his "Garding Against Cancer" event, raising funds and awareness for cancer research. Gard lost his father to brain cancer in 2015, and says this foundation is as much about honoring his memory as it is helping others.
"Looking back on how he lived his life he was really into helping locally whenever he could," Gard explains, "He had thought globally but tried to act locally, so when my wife, Michelle, and I stepped back and looked at what we had gone through, and obviously I had just been named the Head Coach at Wisconsin at the time, we felt that helping the state of Wisconsin was priority number one, so it really fell right into conjunction with our careers both personally and professionally with where we had been in the state, and also in our partnership with the WIAC for exhibition games, to be able to take these events on the road to raise awareness obviously for our foundation but also to be able to help the areas that we're going into. Obviously with Stout being our opponent this coming November, it made perfect sense for us to come here sometime this Fall and do a couple events, and then all of the funds and proceeds will go back to Dunn County and help the residents and the people that are fighting cancer in the area."
Menomonie is just the latest stop for Gard after a whirlwind tour to Australia and New Zealand where Wisconsin played a series of 5 exhibition games, and he says the time spent on that trip with a very young team was invaluable.
"They had a terrific summer, and they played very well on the exhibition tour," says Gard, "For them now, obviously, we head into September, just started lifting this morning, it's really a chance for them to almost have a second summer because we're going to use September as a developmental, skill development month, and then we'll start practice at the end of this month and get back into what we need to prepare for for October and November. But it's a huge head start, any time you can make these type of trips, it's a huge advantage and it really expedited our growth, especially with such a young team."
Wisconsin will hold their team scrimmage on October 22nd. For more information on Garding Against Cancer, click here.