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NCAA, coaches join Habitat to help Hurricane victims

NCAA, AFCA join Habitat for Humanity
to build home for a hurricane-affected area of the Gulf Coast

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 15, 2005) – Volunteers from the NCAA and American Football Coaches Association are joining Habitat for Humanity to pre-build a home for the Gulf Coast in the days leading up to the Division I-AA National Football Championship, Friday, Dec. 16, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The home is an Operation Home Delivery “Habitat home in a box,” which will be fully framed in Chattanooga and then shipped to a location on the Gulf Coast for final construction. Construction began Thursday morning and will be completed by game time Friday night.

In addition to Habitat for Humanity and NCAA staff, construction volunteers working on the project include student-athletes, Chancellor Roger Brown and staff from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, University of Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer and AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff.

“Coaches and their teams are very aware that they are role models, and very conscientious about giving back to the community through charitable activities, which are reasons the AFCA is participating in the project,” Teaff said.

Earlier this month, the AFCA partnered with College Sports Television to auction off game balls signed by dozens of college football coaches. The balls included a ball used in Penn State’s come-from-behind-victory against Northwestern, signed by head coach Joe Paterno; a ball used in Florida State’s victory against Miami, signed by Seminoles’ head coach Bobby Bowden and a ball signed by Coach Fulmer.

The effort is estimated to have raised $30,000 for the partnership.

“Events like those that took place on the Gulf Coast are reminders that as important as our championships and our rivalries are to the teams and fans, our responsibility to those in need is more important,” Fulmer said. “It’s an honor to be here and work beside these men and women who are giving up their time and energy for something so important.”

The Chattanooga project is the latest development in the “Home Team” partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the NCAA that began in September with a $1 million lead gift from Division II and a $500,000 matching gift from the national office. The partnership will provide donations through additional fund-raising and volunteers for the long-term rebuilding effort on the Gulf Coast.

“After Hurricane Katrina hit, many of us at the NCAA national office were asking: How can the NCAA help in a way that is meaningful and gets long-term assistance to those who need it most?” said Dennis Poppe, NCAA managing director for football and baseball and one of the volunteers. “We recognized that the NCAA has a unique ability to raise funds and volunteer assistance.”

“Habitat has the know-how to build simple, decent, healthy, affordable houses. We have the experience mobilizing volunteers to help. We are committed to an unprecedented level of building to help these hard-hit communities get back on their feet,” said Joe Mulvey, of Habitat for Humanity International. “By harnessing resources, the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity® can give new meaning to ‘team building’ and make a lasting contribution by working together toward a larger, more effective, affordable and attainable housing solution.”