Coach Driscoll goes barefoot for cause


As men’s head basketball coach Matthew Driscoll’s team laced up for the USC Upstate match Jan. 22, he untied his shoes and entered the game barefoot for Samaritan’s Feet’s Barefoot for Barefeet Coaches Initiative.

    “It was awesome especially because I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask me about it,” Driscoll said. “One of the first things [USC Upstate senior center Nick Schneiders] asked me was, ‘Coach, why aren’t you wearing shoes?’ That’s the first time as a head coach I’ve taken my shoes off.”
    The Barefoot for Barefeet Coaches Initiative started in 2007 when Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis coach Ron Hunter led a game in his bare feet to raise awareness for children in Africa who suffer from diseases and infections because they can’t afford pairs of shoes.

    Driscoll joined Hunter along with more than 1,000 other coaches from across the country by going barefoot to help raise funding for Samaritan’s Feet. Samaritan’s Feet’s goal is to put one million pairs of shoes on the feet of impoverished children.

    “Most of the people are going to send [the shoes] to Haiti, which is a pretty easy choice to make,” Driscoll said.  “One thing you have to remember now is Martin Luther King Jr. said you can judge someone’s character by the way they handle themselves during challenges.”
    Fans had the opportunity to contribute to Samaritan’s Feet at the USC Upstate game by donating money or bringing a new pair of children’s shoes for the donation boxes in the UNF Arena. They also could text the word “shoes” to the number 85944, which deducted $5 from their next month’s bill. All the proceeds were given toward giving an impoverished child a new pair of athletic shoes.
    Although the exact amount raised for Samaritan’s Feet during the USC Upstate game is unavailable, fans were admirable of the effort and Driscoll’s contribution to the cause. Josh Baker, UNF student manager for the men’s basketball team, was very excited that Driscoll participated in the Barefoot for Barefeet Coaches Initiative, he said.
     “Coach Driscoll is the type of person that puts other people before himself, and I look up to him for that,” Baker said. “He is like a mentor to me.”
    The men’s basketball team is also going to continue helping those in need by serving alongside other organizations to help raise funding and awareness for certain causes. Driscoll even helped start the Personal Improvement Program that encourages the basketball players to become well-rounded men both on and off the court by staying involved in the community.
    As part of that program, the team has volunteered for Beaches Habitat for Humanity, the Heart Walk and reading campaigns for San Jose and New Berlin Elementary Schools, among others. They also have more initiatives coming up in the next few weeks.
    “I also have coaches versus cancer next week and then breast cancer and then United Way,” Driscoll said. The more we can do to serve, the better we are going to be.”

    The Spinnaker will keep you updated on more community service events Driscoll and the men’s basketball team take part in as they occur this season.