Each year, The Liberty Mutual-sponsored Coach of the Year program provides its four winners with $50,000 for the charitable activities of their choice, as well as $20,000 in scholarship money for their universities’ alumni associations. And since the program began in 2006, several of the winners have reached out to organizations to which they feel a personal connection. Here’s a look back at three in particular:
2006 Coach of the Year: Rutgers University head football coach Greg Schiano’s gift to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
According to colleagues, it was no surprise that Rutgers University coach Greg Schiano donated his charity winnings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an organization dedicated to keeping the family intact. He was shocked to hear statistics by the US Department of Justice reporting that 797,500 children under the age of 18 were reported missing in one year – more than 2,100 kids each day. And although many were recovered quickly, many others remain missing. When he received his Coach of the Year award, Schiano called for a “blitz” against this danger by donating his whole sum to the cause (coaches have the option of donating it in parcels to several charities). In his speech presenting NCMEC with the funds, he said, “Family is everything, and the thought of a child abducted from his or her family is horrific. More important than the honor of being the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, I am grateful for […] a unique award that provides real dollars to attack real problems in our society.” The organization itself donates 93 cents of every dollar to support programs that help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, find missing children, and assist victims and their families.
2007 Coach of the Year: Southern Illinois University head football coach Jerry Kill’s gift to the Coach Kill Cancer Fund.
In the fall of 2005, Coach Kill suffered a seizure at a football game, which led to public reporting on the treatment of his seizure disorder. What most didn’t know was that while he was undergoing diagnostic testing, an x-ray revealed a cancerous tumor on his kidney. Kill confined the information to his family and a few close friends, and at the end of the 2005 football season, a portion of one of his kidneys was removed. After months of dealing with the healthcare system, and watching other patients navigate it as well, he set up the Coach Kill Cancer Fund as a way of assisting others who were struggling to afford their care.
Proceeds from the fund – and the gift from Kill’s Coach of the Year win – went to assist low-income Southern Illinois residents with medical costs from cancer or other childhood diseases. Funds were also used to assist families with the additional costs associated with care, such as transportation and lodging.
2009 Coach of the Year: Appalachian State University head football coach Jerry Moore’s gift to Samaritan’s Purse.
In the last several months alone, the Boone, NC-based relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has matched the U.S. government’s $900,000 aid to victims of flood devastation in North Korea; sent 90 tons of emergency aid to victims of the flooding; and accounted for nearly 75 percent of the $51 million that went to victims of the earthquakes in Haiti. In the United States, the organization has tirelessly supported Hurricane Irene efforts, as well as hurricane cleanup all over the east coast. Its “Children’s Heart Project” provides life flights for children who desperately need medical treatment, such as a Ugandan baby who received a life flight to Austin, Texas. Coach Moore and ASU football have been active in Samaritan’s Purse’s aid efforts over the years, and applying his Coach of the Year winnings to the organization was a natural extension of his longstanding support.
Voting is now in full swing for the next Coach of the Year award, which will be announced on January 9th, 2012. Check out the leaderboard and cast your vote at coachoftheyear.com.