Friday night, June 15th was a special evening. The Sarasota Ritz-Carlton was the sports capital of the world.
The 10th annual Dick Vitale gala is in the books and the big winner was cancer research as we raised big bucks for the Jimmy V Foundation. It was a record of $2.38 million for the fight against cancer. I cannot thank everybody enough for another successful event.
I want to salute our three honorees: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Tampa Bay Bucs’ Lovie Smith.
We had presentations honoring the late Stuart Scott, Leah Still and Lauren Hill, who captured the attention of the nation with her bravery playing basketball. Sadly, she lost her fight with cancer.
There were many sports luminaries in attendance, from number one draft pick Jameis Winston, Kentucky hoops coach John Calipari, former NBA stars Kenny Anderson, Derick Coleman, Billy Owens, Bo Outlaw, John Wallace and Mateen Cleaves, daredevil Nik Wallenda, tennis Hall of Famer Nick Bollettieri plus other NFL players and college hoop coaches. Sarasota was the sports capital of the world.
We also celebrated my All-Star team, youngsters who have beaten cancer. They are living examples of how the dollars raised really help.
I also want to thank the hard-working team of Mary Kenealy, Janet Allen and company which helped stage the event. Over 850 were in attendance, followed by a post-party gathering featuring the rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Next year, we will honor ABC’s Robin Roberts, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan.