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Coaches affecting lives off the court

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

April 29, 2004
It's a great time in sports with baseballs flying, the NBA postseason in full swing and the Stanley Cup playoffs taking place.

Let me tell you something else that's happening... there are major banquets all over the nation, fundraisers for all kinds of foundations working dilligently to bring unbelievable happiness to people in need. For example, I am excited big-time about "Dick Vitale's Sportsnight", which will take place down here at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota on May 7th. It's a very, very special event and this year we will go over the $1 million mark in dollars earned over the history of event. Plans have started to build a new Boys and Girls Club center in Sarasota.
Tubby Smith
Can coach Tubby Smith and Kentucky carry the Final Four torch for the SEC?

I'm on cloud nine because all 650 tickets, at $200 a pop, have been sold. All 150 chances to win a raffle for a Mercedes, at $1000 per chance, have also been sold. That's great news and exciting for the kids of Sarasota, Florida.

But I'm not the only one who's out there trying to help. All over America, there are coaches who do a phenomenal job using their name and talent to raise money. People like Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun and Mike Krzyzewski go that extra mile to raise dollars, whether it's for cancer research or by attending a golf outing to help another cause. Recently, I did a commentary for Donna and Tubby Smith, who'll be involved with an Alzheimer's charity event in Lexington, Kentucky. That event will result in money to battle Alzheimer's, which affects over 77,000 people in the Lexington area.

It's another way to show the humanitarian side of these coaches because they aren't just about Xs and Os, baby! There is more than just shooting jump shots, these coaches are about helping people. Tubby Smith's foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide technology for low-income youngsters to help better their future.

That is special stuff, my friends. These people are winners on the court and off. It's quiet time for some regarding hoops, but not for coaches, who are beautiful people making a difference in the community and for great causes in need.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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