Just hours before the Michigan women’s basketball team tipped off against South Carolina Upstate on Monday, the Michigan community was grieving. That afternoon, 5-year-old Chad Carr, the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and former Hall of Fame safety Tom Curtis, passed away after a 15-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor.
To honor Carr, the Wolverines wore orange T-shirts with “#CHADTOUGH” written across the chest during their game. The team came out of the tunnel for warmups dressed in the shirts and also sported them while on the bench.
The coaching staff also geared up in orange, representative of the #ChadTough Pray for a Miracle fundraising event that distributed orange rubber wristbands to raise awareness and support for the cause. Some of the Wolverines wore the wristbands around their socks on Monday, and all of the profits from each wristband went directly to pediatric brain tumor research at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.
A moment of silence was held at Crisler Center prior to Michigan’s win.
Chad’s fight with a form of cancer known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) garnered endless support from the Michigan community and beyond, most prominently with the Michigan football team’s writing of the message, “#CHADTOUGH” on the back of its football helmets.
But as the only Michigan team in action Monday, the women’s basketball program took its chance to honor Chad with the shirts, and Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico spoke about what Chad’s fight meant to her and her team.
“It was really hard,” Barnes Arico said. “We live in the same community, and my children go to school with their children. For them to share their story with us over the last 15 months has been incredible and an inspiration to myself, to our players and to my family. Our team has volunteered for the Chad Run last year and this year. We all feel like Chad and the Carrs are part of our family.”
The Wolverines heard the news during a shootaround earlier today, and as soon as they did, they decided they would honor Chad and the Carr family during the game. Many players tied their shoes with orange laces and painted their nails orange in support.
“It’s such a difficult time for everyone to go through, especially the family,” said sophomore guard Katelynn Flaherty. “(Chad) inspired everyone. It really puts a perspective on everyday life, and I think it reminds us not to take anything for granted and appreciate where we are, everyone around us and just being able to step out on the court.”
As Barnes Arico mentioned, the Wolverines participated in the second annual RunTough fundraiser last month, an event that raised over $120,000 to benefit the ChadTough Foundation.
After the 119-61 win over USC Upstate, the players, coaches and two of Barnes Arico’s daughters put on the #ChadTough shirts and gathered in the middle of the court for a picture to show their support.
“Any way that we can honor them, by wearing orange and supporting their family, is what we wanted to do,” Barnes Arico said. “My little one came running up to me after and said, ‘Mommy, we did this for Chad.’ ”