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Two coaches get it and one adult doesn’t

October 25, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON

Ron Hunter gets it.

As he enters his 16th season as the head coach of the men's basketball program at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Hunter is all about wins on and off the hardwood.

He received the Indiana Pathfinder Award in June for providing donated shoes to children in foreign countries.

Hunter collected more than 3 million pairs of shoes during the last year with Samaritan's Feet and distributed those shoes to children in Haiti and South Africa over the summer.

"It's changed my life, it's changed how I coach," said Hunter. "I used to think coaching was who I am, but it's what I do, not who I am. Winning and losing is still important to me, but I used to think about the next job and now I'm OK with it if this is my last job because this [shoe drive] means so much to me."

IUPUI was a Division II school when Hunter took the reigns. It is now a Division I program and has eight straight seasons of a .500 record or better.

He is one of seven head coaches currently serving on the Division I Basketball Academic Enhancement Group and is also a member of the National Basketball Coaches Association board of directors.

Since partnering with Samaritan's Feet, Hunter has earned numerous national honors including an NABC Guardians of the Game Pillar Award for Service, the 2009 Giant Steps Award from the National Consortium for Academics and Sport and a Minority Achievement Award from the Center for Leadership Development.

He's also been recognized by the Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana Commission on Social Status and the IU Foundation.

Hunter has made an emphasis for he and his players to be actively involved in the community.

In 2008, he began a partnership with Samaritan's Feet in which he intended to raise over 40,000 pairs of shoes in honor of the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death.

He coached the game in his bare feet to help raise the awareness. By tipoff, Hunter's efforts had raised more than 100,000 pairs of shoes, and to date, that total has climbed well above 250,000.

In Indianapolis, Hunter arranges for his student-athletes to visit local hospitals and elementary schools to serve as role models and mentors to inner-city youths. Hunter also does a variety of speaking engagements, both as a motivator and educator. He also organizes annual summer basketball camps to afford inner-city youths the opportunity to compete on the hardwood.

"Ron Hunter has made a significant impact on both the Indianapolis community and IUPUI intercollegiate athletics as a whole," said Floyd Keith, executive director of the Black Coaches Association, which is based in Indianapolis. "His willingness to actively participate and assist in Indianapolis civic projects and events is a matter of record. Ron is most certainly a valued asset to IUPUI, Indianapolis and the state of Indiana."

Jamie Dixon gets it also.

The University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach decided to do something Saturday night when others wouldn't.

He was driving on Interstate 279 North in Pittsburgh when he noticed an overturned car by the side of the road with passengers trapped inside and, according to WPXI.com and ESPN.com, assisted in freeing at least one of the two passengers from the vehicle.

"He was a good Samaritan," Pennsylvania State Trooper Eric Fisher told ESPN.com. "That's the way people are supposed to be. By all accounts he did exactly what a decent person should do.

"It's an interstate freeway and I'm sure countless other cars drove right past. He was one of the very few who pulled over."

Dixon was treated for minor injuries to his hand on the scene before leaving.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene.

This adult doesn't get it.

Although, this is a different case of not having a clue.

Todd Stordahl is the chairman of the Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association.

Members of the association showed their support of breast cancer research last week by pledging to donate all their game checks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

In addition, the men in stripes decided to use pink whistles.

Stordahl whipped out the rule book and said the pink whistles violated uniform protocol for officials.

Apparently, the uniform code calls for black whistles only and those officials did not say "Mother may I."

Now, Stordahl says he has no choice but to discipline said officials for their charitable gesture - two-game suspensions, which would linger into the playoffs.

Stordahl claims not punishing the officials very well would send the wrong message to high school athletes.

"They chose not to ask for permission, not to go the right route," he said. "It sends the wrong message to kids that are playing the game - 'if they broke the rules why can't I do the same.'"

Two words.

Clue.

Less.

Stordahl just made a leap from pink whistles to utter defiance.

Pink whistles = unsportsmanlike conduct?

Really?

Was Stordahl the kid who got out first every time in dodgeball?

Was he the kid who asked the teacher 15 seconds before the end of class, "do we have homework tonight because you didn't give us any?"

Dude had a chance to make this a really positive thing and he threw the flag for illegal procedure.

There has been no decision on any concrete disciplinary action, but if Stordahl continues on his march toward stupidity, how many football officials are going to be left to work the playoff games if everyone gets suspended?

"A lot of the guys in the association have been touched by breast cancer in some way," referee Jeff Mattson told MyNorthwest.com. "So we decided to take on the Susan G. Komen Foundation."

Wow.

How blasphemous.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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