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  • Two teams of cancer fighters — the Hardwood Heroes — led by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA®) coaches Jim Calhoun and Bo Ryan, kicked off the Final Four® by going head-to-head to raise awareness for cancer research.
  • As a part of the brand's ongoing partnership with the NCAA® and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), INFINITI presented a $1 million donation to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
  • Since its partnership with the NCAA® first began nine years ago, INFINITI has donated more than $9 million to various charities and cancer research organizations.

MINNEAPOLIS – Today, two teams of cancer fighters — the Hardwood Heroes — kicked off the Final Four® by going head-to-head at the U.S. Bank Stadium to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancer. This game returns for a fourth year as a part of INFINITI's long-standing partnership with Coaches vs. Cancer®, NCAA® and NABC.

Two teams of 14 cancer survivors, doctors, nurses and researchers competed in a game coached by legendary NCAA® Coaches Bo Ryan and Jim Calhoun. Coach Calhoun was assisted by Coach Kyle Rudolph, tight end for the Minnesota Vikings, and Coach Doug Gottlieb, basketball analyst and sports talk radio host, assisted Coach Ryan.

Playing on the same court as the National Championship Game, team Calhoun won by just one point, but in this game, there were only winners.

Team Calhoun included Paul Nelson, Jacquelyn Harvey, Anne Barlow, Karli McGill, Karim Sadak, Derek Peterson, Kyle Taylor.

Team Ryan included Mike Thompson, Melissa Kovalesky, Chris Weight, Elizabeth Neil, Seth Haacke, Jonathan Benson, Laura Sampson.

In support of this initiative, Turner Sports captured footage at the Hardwood Heroes team practices and game. Highlights will air during the Bridge Show between the two Final Four® semifinal games on Saturday, April 6, and during the pre-game show prior to tip-off on Championship Monday on CBS.

"The Hardwood Heroes game continues to be one of the most exciting moments of the basketball season, and the spirit of these two teams of cancer fighters is truly inspiring on and off the court," said Phil O'Connor, director, INFINITI Marketing Communications and Media. "INFINITI is proud to support the NABC, NCAA and Coaches vs. Cancer, by bringing fans, coaches and players together in the battle against cancer."

Following the Hardwood Heroes game, INFINITI presented a $1 million donation to ACS as part of the brand's ongoing corporate partnership with the NCAA® and NABC.

During this season's INFINITI "Timeout for The Win" campaign, 48 NCAA® Division I men's basketball coaches competed for fan votes. The top three coaches received bragging rights and the highest percentage of the $1 million INFINITI donated to Coaches vs. Cancer overall. Iowa State University Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm took first place ($360,000); Bob Huggins, head coach of the West Virginia University Mountaineers, came in second place ($150,000); Buckeye's head coach Chris Holtmann of Ohio State University came in third ($90,000).

Additionally, during the NCAAâ tournament, INFINITI donated for every bracket entered into the INFINITI Bracket Pool Challenge on In partnership with CBS Sports and Turner Sports, INFINITI raised $350,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Since its partnership with the NCAA® first began in 2008, INFINITI has donated more than $9 million to various charities and cancer research organizations.

INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with representations in markets around the world. The INFINITI brand was launched in 1989. Its range of luxury automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, North America and China. INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing. INFINITI will electrify its entire lineup from 2021 onward. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its daring design and world's first driver-assistance technologies. From the 2016 season, INFINITI is a technical partner of the Renault F1 Team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance.

Find more information about INFINITI, its industry leading technologies and the all-new 2019 QX50 midsize luxury crossover at You can also follow INFINITI USA on FacebookInstagramTwitter and see all our latest videos on YouTube.

About NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit and for more details about the Association, its goals, members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. [NCAA is a trademark of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.]

About the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest "Phog" Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today's student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education. Additional information about the NABC, its programs and membership, can be found at

About Coaches vs. Cancer
For over 25 years, the Coaches vs. Cancer program has united basketball coaches and fans nationwide in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches to defeat a common enemy: cancer. Through fundraising and education initiatives including Suits And Sneakers Week and the 3-Point Challenge, Coaches vs. Cancer has worked together with the Society to help increase the number of cancer survivors to more than 15 million strong. To learn more about Coaches vs. Cancer, visit or visit us on social media at @CoachesvsCancer.

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Media contacts:

Vanessa Bohlscheid
Senior Manager, INFINITI Product and Brand Communications 
(646) 496-2791

Aileen Clarke
Manager, INFINITI Communications 
(949) 359-1112

Paige Presley
Manager, INFINITI Communications 
(615) 725-6021

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INFINITI kicks off Final FourĀ® with Coaches vs. Cancer Hardwood

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