Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vitale Gala bringing Dave Cowans, John Calipari and many more sports notables to town

Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale, shown at his Lakewood Ranch home during a Christmas party for underprivileged children, is bringing some of the best known names in sports to Manatee-Sarasota.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research recently announced that Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale has once again assembled a “prime time” cast to raise funds for cancer research at the Dick Vitale Gala on May 20. The sixth annual Gala, held in Sarasota,  benefits The V Foundation.

Here's the press release:

The three Gala honorees -- college basketball coaches John Calipari of Kentucky and Carolina’s Roy Williams, and tennis legend Nick Bollettieri -- will be joined by coaches, former athletes and sports broadcasters. Most notably , all four head coaches of this year’s Final Four teams will be back together with National Champion Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, Butler’s Brad Stevens, and VCU’s Shaka Smart, joining Calipari.

“I am excited beyond belief to know that we will have the four PTP’ers (“Prime Time Players”) who led their teams to every college basketball coach’s dream, the Final Four, with us at the Ritz Carlton for our Gala,” said Vitale.“It‘s a great thrill to have them all with us, under the same roof, again for the first time since they battled against one another on the court in Houston. This time, however, they join together in the battle against cancer and their efforts will be directed toward raising dollars to help kids fighting cancer,” he said.

Among those attending the event to raise funds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research: Celtic great Dave Cowens, Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown, Florida State Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher, baseball’s Gary Sheffield and an all-star group of collegiate basketball coaches.

Scheduled to attend are Jamie Dixon (Pitt), Billy Donovan (Florida), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Seth Greenberg (Va. Tech), Ben Howland (UCLA), Bob Huggins (WVU) and Gary Williams (Maryland). Men’s doubles Wimbledon champ Don Johnson is also expected to appear. Gala Host John Saunders will be joined by fellow broadcast colleagues Erin Andrews, Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, Lesley Visser and Dereck Whittenburg.

“We are so honored to have so many great names from the world of sports volunteer to support The Foundation and our fight against cancer,” said V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. “It’s such a tribute to Dick that so many answer his call to help him in our quest to fight cancer. Their generosity and Dick’s passion continue to humble us,” Valvano said.

All celebrity guests pay their own expenses for the Vitale Gala as their personal donation to The Foundation and in honor of their friendship with Vitale.

The May 20th Gala is close to capacity with approximately 100 tickets remaining. To purchase tickets or for additional information contact The V Foundation at 1-800-4JimmyV (1-800-454-6698).

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