The “Cold Water Challenge” — Anything but cold!

The “Cold Water Challenge” — Anything but cold!

The story behind the Cold Water Challenge also known as #Chillin4Charity, is blowing up our Twitter feed and has created a fun and unique buzz for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Coach Niya Butts, head women’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona, had an idea and it went viral.  In the words of ESPN writer D’Arcy Maine…

Cold yet heartwarming

“Arizona women’s basketball coach Niya Butts combined two of America’s favorite pastimes — viral videos and raising money for charity — into one brilliant idea that is sweeping the nation. Introducing the #Chillin4Charity “Cold Water Challenge,” an entertaining fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. After getting herself doused with a bucket of ice-cold water, Butts challenged several of her Pac-12 coaching peers to do the same. They have 48 hours to suffer the same fate and then pass the challenge on to other coaches. If they don’t do it, they have to donate $250 to the cause, according to the rules.”

How did this all start? Here is  Niya’s account of the story…

“First of all, I think any time you’re talking about charities, you always want to make sure that they’re grounded in the right things and you have the right ideas.

It all started when Assistant Coach Calamity McEntire turned to our Director of Operations, Lisa Salgado, and me and said, “I have a great idea Coach, but you’re not going to like it.”

She knows that I’m pretty particular about my hair.

She said, “You know about these cold water challenges that people are doing right now on social media that are being done all over the place? We should call out the coaches in our conference. That would be fun, to see if they would do it.”

Initially the idea was just to have a good time and see if we could get the coaches to answer the challenge. After we discussed it a little bit, we thought most of the cold water challenges we saw weren’t done just for fun—they were tied to something.

So, after thinking about it, it didn’t take long to come up with something that everybody in women’s basketball, but not limited to women’s basketball, could get involved with, a cause that we could all get behind, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

From our administration, to our fans, we all have Pink Games and our lives have been touched in one way or another—whether it is a friend, a family member, a spouse—we’ve all been touched by cancer and it has had some effect on all of us. We can all get behind that.

So we thought the cold water challenge would not only be fun, but it would be for a good cause, so we decided to attach the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to it. We put a little twist on it by having the folks that are calling out coaches, friends, or family members to donate money once their challenge is answered. We felt like it would catch on and I think it’s started to gain legs, so we feel pretty good about that.

I didn’t want to forget the community service piece in all of it. Most of our student-athletes are probably not going to be able to donate monetarily, but they certainly can give their time and we want to make sure the message of giving back through service doesn’t get lost. We really want to give back to the community and do what is right for folks that are at a disadvantage and in less fortunate situations.

As coaches, our jobs are about more than the game. We should inspire our young folks to do better and to do more. We should develop them on and off the court. At the end of it, we should hope that they are transformed from young girls into young women. That is our duty.

So at the end of the day, for us as a program, Arizona women’s basketball is all about the bigger message:

More Than a Game  – Inspire. Develop. Transform.

Hopefully, with this challenge, we can help raise a lot of money, for a great cause and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Coach Niya Butts, head women’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona (center), is staying cool this summer and raising funds and awareness for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. #Chillin4Charity!


  1. [...] idea of the Cold Water Challenge started a few weeks ago with University of Arizona head coach Niya Butts. Since then, coaches and [...]

  2. [...] Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair and West Virginia head coach Mike Carey to participate in the #Chillin4Charity Cold Water Challenge to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer [...]

  3. [...] head coach, Les Miles, is the latest to take the “Cold Water Challenge,” which entails being on the receiving end of a frozen water Gatorade bath to raise money for the [...]

  4. [...] The Arizona women’s basketball staff came up with the idea and coach Niya Butts was the first to be doused in water. She then called out several coaches in the PAC-12 and the charitable idea has gone viral. [...]

  5. […] For more information on the #Chillin4Charity Challenge or how you can help by donating, visit […]

  6. […] Jacksonville State women’s basketball teams/coaching staff have successfully undertaken the #Chillin4Charity cold water challenge, extended by the University of Arizona’s women’s basketball coach, Niya […]

  7. […] For more on the Chillin’ 4 Charity story, follow this link. […]

  8. […] schools are cool: NFA girls’ basketball is Chillin’ 4 […]

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