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Fight against cancer brings Utah, BYU basketball coaches together for event

Published August 24, 2009 6:49 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who hasn't been impacted, either directly or indirectly, by cancer. As such, the eighth annual Chairman's Tournament for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation was a big hit Monday morning among everyone who attended.

But it meant a little more for Dave Rose and Jim Boylen.

Rose, the Brigham Young University men's basketball coach, is still overcoming his bout with pancreatic cancer, which plagued him over the summer.

On Monday, Rose was in good spirits at Salt Lake Country Club.

He's much grayer than he was a season ago, but the important thing is that he's healthy, he's back to doing the day-to-day basketball thing and he's gearing up for the upcoming season.

"The basketball part of life feels good now," Rose said. "It feels normal. The players are coming in, we're going to have a team meeting, and we're going to get started. The other stuff, I'm still trying to figure out, but it's getting better by the day."

Rose and Boylen, despite the rivalry between the two schools they coach, have forged a friendship over the last few years. That's what happens when you are in the coaching fraternity, and constantly see each other on the recruiting trail.

That's why when Boylen was invited to play in the tournament, his first call was to Rose. On a professional level, it's arguable that nobody was impacted by Rose's diagnosis more than Boylen. In doing so, Boylen extended himself to Rose.

He offered Rose a place to rest when he went to the Huntsman Center to do treatment. He constantly called Rose, offering him all the encouragement that he could. And when Rose was pronounced healthy, Boylen was as happy, and as relieved, as anyone.

"We're closer than people realize," Boylen said. "I know we coach at rival schools, but we're also fighting a disease that impacts a lot of people. I'm just really thankful that he's healthy. It's really an honor to ride with him."

With the shotgun tee time set for a little after 7:30 a.m., Rose and Boylen both chuckled a bit when asked what the mode of conversation would be. While both acknowledged that a little fun would be had while in the cart, both laughed when asked if any strategy sessions would be mapped out.

"I won't be asking him how he's going to be guarding my pick and roll," Boylen said.

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