Nearly 600 sports enthusiasts attended the April 11 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner presented by the Wyndham Championship to hear best-selling author John Feinstein tell stories about PGA TOUR golf and college basketball. Those who attended heard some great stories and simultaneously supported the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program. After tallying expenses, the Greensboro Sports Council contributed $30,000 to the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment, the Council announced today.
Founded at this event last year, the Greensboro Sports Council’s Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment 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 but is currently reaching less than 30 percent of Guilford County Schools’ second-grade students. The hope is that one day in the future, the Endowment will generate enough money to fully fund the program each year allowing 100 percent of the second-grade students to participate in the program. For additional information on the Learn-to-Swim program, please visit www.greensboroaquaticcenter.com/learn-to-swim.
“Without the generous support of organizations such as the Greensboro Sports Council, the Learn-to-Swim program would not have been able to impact thousands of children from Guilford County Schools since its inception,” said Greensboro Aquatic Center manager Susan Braman. “We appreciate the Sports Council’s leadership and continued support in creating and raising additional funds for the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment and helping us bring life-saving skills to more children in our community.”
“The Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment is quite possibly the most important endeavor in our history,” Greensboro Sports Council president Rob Goodman said. “We are proud to raise money for high schools in Guilford County through the HAECO Invitational high school basketball tournament, but with the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment, we’re supporting the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s efforts to save lives by teach kids how to swim – it doesn’t get more important than that. Thanks to title partner the Wyndham Championship and reception partner BB&T as well as our supporting partners and everyone that purchased tables or individual seats as part of this effort to raise funds for Learn-to-Swim.”
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner highlights significant figures in or related to the Atlantic Coast Conference or one of its sports with proceeds benefitting the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment. 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.
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.
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.