Local basketball coaches ditch shoes
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 17, 2014 12:31 AM | 2362 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coaching barefoot for the Samaritan’s Feet charity — as Georgia State’s Ron Hunter, above, does — has become a growing trend, which the coaches at South Cobb and Pebblebrook will do tonight.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Coaching barefoot for the Samaritan’s Feet charity — as Georgia State’s Ron Hunter, above, does — has become a growing trend, which the coaches at South Cobb and Pebblebrook will do tonight.
Associated Press photo
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Tonight, the South Cobb and Pebblebrook basketball programs will show what they can achieve off the court, with help from the community.

The boys and girls coaching staffs from the two schools will coach tonight’s game at Pebblebrook barefoot to promote Samaritan’s Feet, a non-profit organization that provide shoes to impoverished children.

“Anything to bring awareness to our student body and to our community of a problem that needs to be addressed is a good thing,” South Cobb boys coach Greg Moultrie said. “It’s a great program, and I was all for it when (Pebblebrook boys) coach (George) Washington asked for our support.”

Moultrie said Washington got the idea for tonight’s benefit after volunteering at last year’s NCAA Final Four at the Georgia Dome. Washington and members of his staff assisted Samaritan’s Feet by washing feet and giving out shoes.

“This is coach Washington’s idea, so I’m not going to try and take any credit,” Moultrie said. “He organized it and suggested to me that we get involved by coaching barefoot from the sidelines.

“This is a big rivalry game for both schools, so we expect to have a lot of people there from the Austell and Mableton communities. It’s a positive event that will help enlighten our student body and our programs to the plight that some people and children go through all over the world. This is bigger than all of us.”

Fans are being asked to attend the game and make a $1 donation that will go towards the purchase of shoes. Additionally, fans are asked to wear mismatched shoes to bring attention to the millions of people who do not have the ability to wear matched shoes.

At halftime of the boys game will be a 3-point shooting contest for the public, for a $1 donation to Samaritan’s Feet.

The trend of coaching barefoot came to the forefront largely due to Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter, who became one of the most public supporters of Samaritan’s Feet when he was coaching at IUPUI.

Hunter and Georgia State women’s coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener, the Smyrna native and former Campbell High School star, will coach their respective home games barefoot Saturday against Arkansas-Little Rock.

During last year’s Final Four, Kentucky coach John Calipari was honored as the Samaritan’s Feet “Barefoot Coach of the Year” after raising more than $25,000 for the organization.

“I’m excited to be a part of this,” Moultrie said. “It’s a worthy cause, and it’s a great way for our young people to get involved in doing something to help someone else.”

Moultrie added that he recently had surgery on his right knee, so he will be coaching from the sidelines in a knee brace.

“My right leg will be immobile, so I’ll be limping around there doing what I have to do,” he said.

Limping or not, Moultrie conceded that, if he’s going to coach barefoot, he’s going to be ready for any ridicule that might come his way.

“My players have already been joking with me,” he said. “I’m going to make sure I lotion my feet up before I get out there. I don’t want them to be ashy.”
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