KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, April 29, 2006 — Volunteers from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association joined Habitat for Humanity and the NCAA to pre-build a home that will eventually be built in partnership with a hurricane-affected family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The build took place in conjunction with the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction weekend.
“In the midst of a weekend dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the 2006 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees, the Habitat for Humanity build gave us a break from the storytelling and celebration to build something larger, providing relief for a gulf coast family in need,” said Nan Elrod, director of basketball relations, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The home is dedicated to the memory of Sue Gunter, former Louisiana State University women’s basketball coach and 2000 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Final construction of the home will take place in Baton Rouge, home of Louisiana State University, in May and June, in conjunction with a 14-home Habitat building blitz.
“Partnering with the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity affords us a lasting opportunity to remember Sue Gunter and her impact on the women’s basketball community,” said Beth Bass, chief executive officer of the WBCA. “While we all compete on the court throughout the season, this allows us to work together and create something meaningful.” In addition to the Knoxville build, the WBCA and the NCAA have partnered to provide exclusive autographed basketballs for an online auction. Four commemorative silver anniversary basketballs signed by the Women’s Final Four coaches and one commemorative silver anniversary basketball signed by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball 25th Anniversary Team are being auctioned online. All proceeds from the auction will benefit Habitat for Humanity. Bids for the autographed basketballs are now being accepted online at http://auctions.ncaasports.com .
“Members of the WBCA and the women’s basketball community have always been willing to lend a hand and make a difference,” said Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice-president for Division I Women’s Basketball. “The Habitat builds in both Knoxville and Baton Rouge, in combination with the online auction, further prove the commitment of the women’s basketball community to leave a lasting legacy where we have been.”
The project is the latest development in a three-year “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 Association and the national office. In January, the Association leadership pledged an additional $1 million for a total of $2.5 million. The partnership will provide donations through additional fundraising and volunteers for the long-term rebuilding effort on the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“In making a lasting tribute to Sue Gunter, the NCAA, the WBCA and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame are also helping Habitat for Humanity make a lasting impression about the needs of families displaced by the hurricanes,” said Chris Clarke, senior vice president of Habitat for Humanity, International. “In addition to its generous donation, the NCAA and its partner organizations set an example for America’s youth and encourage them to make a difference. Whether it is on the basketball court, a football field, or another sporting venue, the spirit of competition that inspires the NCAA, its coaches and its student-athletes is the same spirit that inspires them to help us today so we can make a difference for a family tomorrow.”
A similar “Habitat house in a box” build occurred in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the Division I-AA Football Championships in December and in Indianapolis at the Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in March. During the Men’s Final Four April 1-3, three Habitat “Houses in a box” were constructed outside the NCAA National Office; a fourth house is currently being built in Indianapolis. A build is also being planned in conjunction with the Men’s College World Series.