If you catch a glimpse of IUPUI coach Ron Hunter today and sense something’s amiss, just look down. Hunter’s not wearing any shoes.
For the fourth straight year, Hunter will be on the sidelines in his bare feet to help raise money for Samaritan’s Feet, a charity that puts shoes on the feet of impoverished children.
“I’ll always do it on Martin Luther King weekend, whether we’re home or away. And if we’re away, I’ll do it again at home another time,” Hunter told the AP. “It’s really about losing your comfort level a little bit, and when I get off the plane in those countries and I see those kids, it’s like Christmas Day because their eyes just light up. You just can’t believe it.”
Hunter’s not alone in this, either.
Today’s opposing coach, South Dakota State’s Scott Nagy, also will be barefoot on the sideline. North Dakota State’s Saul Phillips did the same in Thursday’s loss to IUPUI.
Coaches such as Kentucky’s John Calipari, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, Davidson’s Bob McKillop and Butler’s Brad Stevens are among the 1,000 coaches who’ll be on the sidelines shoeless at some point this season. Last year, more than 2,000 college, prep and AAU coaches did the same.
But Hunter got it going.
“It took one man (Hunter) to say yes and that ripple effect has continued throughout the last three years,” said Todd Melloh, the Samaritan’s Feet spokesman.
The IUPUI coach hopes to collect 150,000 pairs of shoes this year, many of which will go to Houston children during the Final Four. He’ll also spend time overseas. Those wishing to help can donate at the Samaritan’s Feet website, or bring new or slightly worn shoes to one of the Samaritan’s Feet games.
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