Steve Broughton, the former Truman High School boys basketball and softball coach, will be on the sidelines once again next Tuesday as he is expected to coach a team in the Anything Can Happen Alumni Basketball Benefit Game that will help defray some of the costs as he battles pancreatic cancer.
More than 50 former Patriot players are expected to be on hand for the 7 p.m. game. There is no charge for the event, but donations will be accepted at the door. All proceeds will benefit Broughton, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
“It’s a tough situation, but my dad’s a battler and we’re going to get through this,” said his son Jared, who is following his father’s footsteps, as he was recently announced as the new girls basketball coach at Oak Grove High School.
“We had a tough round of chemo (Friday) and dad’s pretty tired, but he’s hoping to be on the bench next Tuesday to coach one of the teams.”
The event will have a unique format. Because so many former players want to take part, they have been split up into three teams – 1990-1995, 1996-2000 and 2001-present day.
There will be three 20-minute halves with Broughton coaching each of the squads.
“Dad’s really looking forward to this event,” Jared said. “He’s going to rest up this weekend because he’s been asked to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at the (Kansas City) Royals game on Monday. That’s two big nights for him, and he wants to attend both events.”
While schedules and plans can change, players are expected to come from as far away as Boston (former Truman all-time scoring leader Jason Bunker) to honor their former coach.
“We’d do anything for coach, because he would do anything for us – whether we were playing or had graduated. Steve Broughton is special,” said former Truman basketball and baseball standout Chad Abernathy (Class of 2001).
“We’re going to have some fun Tuesday night, and we’re all hoping Coach can make it. If he can’t, we’re going to find a way to Skype it to him that night.”
Broughton’s longtime friend and former teammate at Truman, activities director Eric Holm, said Tuesday is going to be a night of celebration.
“We’re going to celebrate the fact that Steve Broughton was an important part of Truman High School, as a basketball and softball coach,” said Holm, who has known Broughton since they were 12 and growing up in Independence.
“It’s going to be a great night, and everyone involved is looking forward to it.”