Matt Hackenberg

EPISODE #101 – Hoops 4 Healing

By Matt Hackenberg

Chuck Cooper, Bruce Brown, Hal Smith, and Larry Hackenberg

A bizarre medical coincidence leads 4 prominent Stark county coaches to not only form deep life long friendships but also to turn their shared diagnosis into a weapon to fight a common opponent.

When Malone University’s head basketball coach Hal Smith, Lake High School Athletic Director Bruce Brown, Wooster High School Athletic Director Chuck Cooper and the late Walsh University mens basketball coach Steve Loy were all diagnosed with the rare liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), rather than accept defeat, the men forged an organization to help others stricken with this disease for which there is no known cause.

Since 1999, The Hoops 4 Healing Foundation have used their Hoops 4 Healing Annual Basketball Classic to not only raise money to further research toward finding a cure for PSC but also to spread the message of organ donation. Through this and the sharing of their stories, the founders continue to fight a disease that has so profoundly affected their lives.


This hour of the Sports Time Machine is dedicated to the memory of coach Steve Loy and chronicles each man’s diagnosis, the impact that athletics has made on each of their struggle against the disease, and the decision to band together in a shared brotherhood to fight PSC. Hear the origins of The Hoops 4 Healing Foundation, what they’ve accomplished in their over 10 years of existence, and what they aim to accomplish going forward!

To learn more about Hoops 4 Healing and how you can help, check out their website at


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