Best-selling author John Feinstein, who has written many books about Atlantic Coast Conference basketball and PGA TOUR golf, is the featured speaker for the 2018 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner, the Greensboro Sports Council announced today. Founded in 2008, The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner was renamed in 2010 in memory of the late associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. This year’s event is set for Wednesday, April 11 on the Greensboro Coliseum arena floor – nine days after the NCAA Men’s Basketball national championship game and three days after the Masters.
Feinstein is the author of 38 books including two No. 1 New York Times Bestsellers: “A Season on the Brink,” which chronicled a year in the life of the Indiana University basketball team and its coach, Bob Knight, and “A Good Walk Spoiled,” a year inside life on the PGA TOUR. He is also the author of 11 kids’ mysteries; his first young-adult mystery won the Edgar Allen Poe Award. Feinstein also works for The Washington Post, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, CBS Sports Radio and Golf Digest among others. He is a member of the Naismith Basketball, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters, the U.S. Basketball Writers and the Greater D.C. Jewish Sports Halls of Fame.
“If there’s any dinner I’m thrilled to speak at it is one honoring Fred Barakat,” Feinstein said. “Fred broke the mold in many ways throughout his life, but the one I benefitted from most was his willingness to always return phone calls even when he knew the questions would be difficult. Most officiating supervisors hid from the media; Fred met us head on.”
During this event last year, the Greensboro Sports Council introduced the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment which was created to help fund the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program. This vital effort aims to teach every second-grade student attending the Guilford County Schools how to swim at no expense to the family; the Learn-to-Swim program is 100 percent privately funded. For additional information on the Learn-to-Swim program, please visit www.greensboroaquaticcenter.com/learn-to-swim.
“As someone who is still around only because I’ve been a swimmer all my life--literally—I’m thrilled to speak at an event that raises money to help kids learn to swim,” Feinstein added. “Finally, coming to Greensboro is a little like coming home for me. I can’t begin to catalogue my memories of hoops in the coliseum--the old and the new.”
Open to the general public, the Fred Barakat Sports Dinner benefits the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment. Individual tickets, $95, tables of 10, $850 and corporate partnerships are available through the Greensboro Sports Council; please visit: www.greensborosportscouncil.com or contact CJ Johnston at [email protected] or (336) 433-7261.
Barakat joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1981 as the supervisor of men’s basketball officials. He was later named assistant commissioner and was then promoted to associate commissioner, director of men’s basketball. For 16 years he served as the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament director along with his other basketball responsibilities that included scheduling, managing the league’s television partners and officiating. He passed away in 2010.
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner highlights significant figures in or related to the Atlantic Coast Conference or one of its sports. Previous featured guests at the event are former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, ESPN college basketball analyst and Duke alumnus Jay Bilas, CBS Sports college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg, ESPN College basketball analyst Dick Vitale, Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski and CBS Sports golf analyst Gary McCord.
The dinner occasionally features roundtable discussions such as “Legends of the ACC” with Duke’s Mike Gminski, North Carolina’s Phil Ford, NC State’s Derrick Whittenburg and Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress, “Coaches of the ACC” featuring Wake Forest’s Dave Odom, Maryland’s Gary Williams, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Cremins and NC State’s Les Robinson and a reunion of the 1974 NC State University NCAA National Championship team with David Thompson, Monte Towe, Tommy Burleson and assistant coach Eddie Biedenbach.
Founded in 1959, the Greensboro Sports Council is the official host organization for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex providing hospitality, resources and community interaction for events held at the Coliseum Complex. The Sports Council supports sports events in Greensboro and Guilford County such as the Wyndham Championship PGA TOUR event, US Figure Skating Championships, the ACC Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, various NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the ACC Women’s Golf Tournament at Sedgefield Country Club, the United States Olympic Committee Table Tennis Olympic Trials, the ACC Baseball Tournament when applicable as well as any NCAA Championships hosted in the area.
In addition, the Council hosts the HAECO Invitational high school basketball tournament each December. Founded in 1976, this annual event donates its proceeds to charity and the participating schools each year.