Central Connecticut will celebrate alumni day on Saturday, Feb. 21 when St. Francis (NY) comes to Detrick Gymnasium. The afternoon will also serve as Think Pink Day for the Blue Devils. In addition, head coach Beryl Piper and fellow alumni will honor their former coach, CCSU Hall of Famer Dr. Brenda Reilly. Reilly, the 1985-86 NCAA Division II Coach of the Year, served as the Blue Devil head coach from 1971 through 1995 and passed away on Aug. 5, 2000 following a battle with ovarian cancer.
The Think Pink initiative, which is now known as The WBCA Pink Zone, is a global, unified effort for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. To find out more, click here.
"I think it is important for us to combine the celebration of Coach Reilly with Think Pink," Piper said. "She had a profound impact in the development women's basketball before losing her own struggle with cancer."
Piper and the Blue Devils will also welcome the Ryba family for the day. Chris Ryba, a longtime supporter of Piper, who coached his daughters - Lindsay, Casey and Stephanie - at New Britain High, was diagnosed with Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia, a rare and currently incurable type of lymphoma. Ryba's wife, Lynda, and daughters, will be raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). To find out more, check out this link.
"Chris is such a good friend of the program," Piper said. "He has supported me through my playing days here to present day, and I want to do everything I can to help his family.
"In all, it's going to be a great day. We hope fans come out to support us and, more importantly, cancer research."
Central Connecticut will play SFNY in the second game of a doubleheader. The men's team tips off against the Terriers at 2 p.m. The women's game will start at 4 p.m., or 30 minutes following the end of the men's contest.