Leader of the Pack (~26,000 Impressions on LinkedIn)

When I was a senior in high school, Jimmy V and the North Carolina State Wolfpack did the miraculous, they upset the vaunted Houston Cougars to capture the NCAA MBB Championship. Watching Coach Valvano running around the court after the game looking for someone to embrace was an iconic moment, perfectly capturing his trademark passion and enthusiasm. For a basketball fan like me, it made the impossible seem possible – that the underdog always had a chance to slay the dragon.

Although I didn’t play against North Carolina State when I was playing in college, I always rooted for Coach Valvano and the Wolfpack since they had captured my imagination during that storybook run in ‘83. As we all know, he didn’t win another championship, but he did have some extraordinary teams and great players that were always fun to watch – his battles with UNC and Duke were stuff of legend.

However, his true impact on humanity didn’t come until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1992, ultimately passing the following year. Although unimaginable to those of us who viewed Coach V as indomitable, he exceeded everyone’s expectations with what he did next. He fought like hell. He spoke out and created unparalleled awareness. He brought empathy to the forefront. He raised money…lots of it. He became an inspiration, not just for basketball fans, but for anyone associated with this dreaded disease. He displayed a sense of courage and dignity usually reserved for war heroes. Finally, he showed us all to give a little more of ourselves, to laugh and love a little more, and to never ever give up.

So, to be part of a team that is bringing his story to the big screen is not just a dream come true, it is our way of reaffirming his essence as a person and his message to all people – through good times and not so good times – themes that we all need to embrace more often in these turbulent times. Needless to say, we can’t wait to work with Ray Romano to bring forth a championship effort with this amazing story. #game1