Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) For Kentucky Coach Jason Booher, it's not all about basketball at the annual Mirabito Stop DWI Holiday Classic.
It's about spreading an important message, one that hits close to home for him. At just 13-years-old, Jason became part of the worst DWI-related crash in America's history. The Carrollton bus crash of 1988.
"A drunk driver hit us head on and the bus immediately engulfed into flame and only 40 of us got out," Booher said. "I not only lost 27 of my closest friends, I lost my best friend that day."
Booher decided to use his experience to educate young people about the risks of drinking and driving. Twenty-five years later, he coaches basketball at Covington Holmes High School and is a motivational speaker. He travels the nation, spreading a life-saving message.
"If you start to drink, then don't you dare drive that night because your brain is always going to tell you you're sober enough and you can't make that decision while impaired," Booher said.
Sunday will be Booher's second time speaking in Binghamton. He will speak to student athletes in the Double Tree ballroom at 8:30 a.m. Between the 16 teams at this year's Holiday Classic, he said nearly 300 teenagers will be there to listen.
"The decisions you make today will affect the rest of your life and they need to think about things like that, especially at a young age," Booher said.
As a competitor in the Holiday Classic this year, Booher said it's a tournament unlike any other.
"It's training these guys at a young age that the decisions they make today could affect the rest of their lives and that's one thing I love about this tournament." Booher said.
This is the tournament's 22nd year.