WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS (WVDN) – Hall of Fame and National Champion basketball coach Roy Williams has agreed to host and deliver the keynote speech at the third annual GameChanger Prevention Education Golf Classic Dinner on Wednesday, May 23, at The Greenbrier.
Williams, who enjoyed a sparkling coaching career at college basketball shrines Kansas and North Carolina, joins a lofty list of past speakers at the GameChanger event. He follows Alabama coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, who appeared at the inaugural Classic in 2021, and country music sensation Brad Paisley, who delivered last year’s keynote.
Williams guided Kansas to the NCAA national championship games in both 1991 and 2003 and led North Carolina to three NCAA basketball championships in 2005, 2009 and 2017. He compiled an ultra-impressive career record of 903-264, including a sparkling 79-27 record in NCAA tournament play. He was inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the National Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
The legendary coach says he is eagerly looking forward to becoming a part of the GameChanger initiative. “I hope I can help GameChanger address what is obviously a crisis in our country. Substance misuse is killing our kids and destroying our families and communities,” Williams said. “I consider it an honor to follow such fantastic people as Nick and Terry Saban and Brad Paisley and I am committed to helping GameChanger in any way I can.”
GameChanger founder and Executive Director Joe Boczek is elated that Williams will helm the GameChanger event. “GameChanger has been truly blessed in just its fourth year of existence. Through the help of so many people from so many walks of life, we believe we are truly going to save lives. Having a legend like coach Williams on the heels of our terrific hosts the last two years in Nick and Terry Saban and Brad Paisley speaks volumes to the credibility our Prevention Education Programs have attained.”
The third annual GameChanger event is slated to begin with a reception and dinner featuring Williams on Wednesday, May 24, and a golfer’s breakfast and celebrity golf scramble slated to start at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 25.
In its first two years, the GameChanger Golf Classic has raised more than $800,000 for prevention education in West Virginia schools. GameChanger programs are also working to address the deadly fentanyl crisis that is responsible for taking a record number of young lives in West Virginia and across our nation.
GameChanger Chairman of the Board Larry Puccio believes the success of GameChanger in such a brief period is a testament to the people and organizations in West Virginia and beyond who have stepped up to help.
“I will never be able to say enough about the great people in West Virginia and the nation who have lent their support, not only financially but also with their knowledge and expertise in addressing this crisis. I wish there were time and space to name each one individually. I do know that because of them, GameChanger is saving kids’ lives, and that is all that matters. I would also be remiss if I didn’t personally thank coach Bob Huggins for reaching out to coach Roy Williams to secure his commitment to help us.”
Since its inception in 2018, GameChanger has:
- Received support from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who serves as GameChanger head coach, and received the endorsement and support of United States Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito.
- *Launched its innovative Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Education Program that was developed in conjunction with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in 12 pilot schools in West Virginia.
- Signed a three-year extension of the original two-year contract with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to increase the number of West Virginia schools that will be able to receive the GameChanger Substance Misuse Prevention Education Program in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
- Formed a partnership with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to develop the GameChanger, “One Pill Can Kill” program. This program is currently being implemented and is available to all public and private middle and high schools in West Virginia, as well as civic and church groups.