Enka High School (EHS) Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Carver has received statewide recognition for organizing an impactful cancer-fighting fundraiser.

On Tuesday, Buncombe County Schools (BCS) Athletic Specialist David Ball and EHS Principal Jeffrey Burleson presented Mr. Carver with the Spirit of Sport Award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). The award recognizes Mr. Carver for creating the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s Coaches Versus Cancer Shootout, which has raised more than $165,000 for the American Cancer Society since 2013. During the shootout weekend, teams from all around the state raise money in honor of a local “hero.” Then they play against each other at the Kimmel Arena on UNC-Asheville’s campus.

“It’s beautiful to see how much it’s grown,” Mr. Carver said. “Teams from all across the state have car washes, raffles, pennies in a bucket – all kinds of fundraisers. Then they all come together to celebrate their heroes and play against teams they would never get a chance to play against in their regular seasons.”

The Spirit of Sport award recognizes individuals “who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport that represents the core mission of education-based athletics,” according to the NCHSAA website.

“You are to be commended for your dream in starting this event and for your hard work and compassion in making this event in the fight against cancer,” Mr. Ball said during the formal presentation on Tuesday.

Mr. Carver said he is honored to receive the statewide award, but he noted that many others also deserve credit, including his family, the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association, UNCA, and the National Coaches Versus Cancer organization.

Aside from the tremendous monetary benefit for research and families fighting cancer, the program also benefits high school basketball players, Mr. Carver added.

“It shows them what it looks like to give back to their community, to realize that there’s something out there bigger than themselves,” he said. “Pretty much everyone is or will be affected by cancer on some level, so it’s a powerful event.”