UWL to face Wisconsin Badgers in exhibition game; Badger Coach Gard to lead cancer fundraiser at UWL
The UW-La Crosse Eagles men’s basketball team will head to the Kohl Center this fall to take on Wisconsin in the annual WIAC-Badger exhibition game — but Badger Coach Greg Gard will be heading to La Crosse to raise money for those impacted by cancer in the Coulee Region.
Gard and his wife, Michelle, will bring their Garding Against Cancer initiative to UWL’s Student Union Thursday, Sept. 12, from 5:30-10 p.m. for a special dinner, one-of-a-kind silent auctions, entertainment, a patient story and more. All proceeds raised at the event will stay in the La Crosse area to assist cancer prevention and patient care.
Long-time supporters of cancer research efforts, the Gards found the disease excruciatingly personal when Greg’s dad, Glen, died in October 2015 after a six-month battle with brain cancer.
“We began reflecting on our journey and having conversations about how to embrace and carry forward the lessons we had learned,” explains Gard. “We wanted our impact to be across the state of Wisconsin — our presence to be felt by patients and researchers from border to border.”
They launched Garding Against Cancer to provide funds to those in the medical field striving to find a cure, along with creating better treatment options for those battling cancer. The Gards have taken their efforts statewide to areas of the campuses playing in the annual Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference-Badgers exhibition game. Previous similar successful events have been held in Oshkosh and Menomonie, as well as Wausau and Wisconsin Dells. More details are available at GardingAgainstCancer.org.
Having the opportunity to play a role in the tremendous impact the Gard family is having is extremely special, says UWL Men’s Basketball Coach Kent Dernbach. “The Garding Against Cancer reception is an incredible chance for the La Crosse area to join together in the spirit of helping local individuals who are battling this terrible disease,” says Dernbach. “UWL and our program are honored to experience firsthand the unparalleled passion of Greg and Michele in this cause.”
Friday, Nov. 1, the Eagles will head to the Kohl Center for the second exhibition game held between the two clubs. Dernbach says he’s thrilled Coach Gard has continued to play WIAC members in early season contests.
“It’s a great opportunity for our players to compete on the road against a Big 10 opponent in arguably the best college basketball venue in the country,” explains Dernbach. “The makeup of our alumni and current roster are loaded with Wisconsin high school products, which makes this game even more special for our program.”
In the previous game, held Nov. 6, 2010, the Badgers won 84-59. Tony Mane led UWL with 24 points; Michael Hanson had 17 points. The Eagles went on to finish 14-12 overall and 9-7 in the WIAC.
Wisconsin leads the all-time regular season series, 3-0. The teams played in 1912-13, 1920-21, and 1921-22. Game time and ticket information for the Nov. 1 contest will be announced later.
The Eagles open their regular season at Crown College (Minn.) Friday, Nov. 8. Last year, UWL finished 17-10 overall and 10-4 in the WIAC, placing second in the league standings. It was the Eagles’ highest finish in the WIAC since 2015-16.
UWL earned an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA III championship, the team’s second appearance in school history in the national tournament. Their first was in 2006.