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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Rutgers coach Mike Rice rappels down the side of a 470-foot building

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Whether it's walking barefoot on the sidelines, donning a disco-era suit and gold chains or wearing a kilt instead of pants, college basketball coaches have gone to great lengths to promote their favorite charities.

Rutgers coach Mike Rice elevated the bar even higher Friday when he raised money for the fight against cancer by rappelling down the side of a 34-story New Jersey skyscraper with only a few cords holding up aloft.

Rice's daredevil descent was part of the American Cancer Society's "Over the Edge" event. It took him a mere nine minutes to get from the roof of the 470-foot Harborside Financial Center Plaza 5 building to the ground, a speedy time that would have been even faster had he not stopped to say hello to fans watching from the windows of the office building.

"Halfway down, then you start to enjoy it," Rice told the Newark Star-Ledger. "There was big boardroom with a lot of block R's, so they started taking pictures, and I was waving. So that was fun. Just the over the edge part was the difficult part for me. But again, it's for a great cause in the American Cancer Society. My part was just rappelling down a perfectly normal, safe skyscraper."

Rappelling down a building is the most high-risk way Rice has raised money for cancer research and prevention, but it's certainly not the first time he has contributed to the cause.

Rice is heavily involved in Coaches vs. Cancer and hosts an annual dinner at Rutgers each November to raise awareness and funds. In March, he was named to the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer National Council. Last month, he attended the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., and was part of a rally at the Capitol Building to underscore the need for greater funding for cancer research.

All those acts of generosity are important, of course, but this one will have an unintended benefit for Rice. How would you like to be the Rutgers player who complains he doesn't have the strength to make it through another set of wind sprints when his coach just climbed down the side of a 50-story building?

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