Boeheim Foundation hopes to win $100,000 for charity
Jim Boeheim has won on the basketball court for most of this season. Now he’s searching for a victory off the court as well.
Boeheim, along with other coaches at top basketball schools around the nation, is participating in ‘Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge’ in hopes of winning $100,000 for the charity of their choice. The designated charity for Syracuse University is the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation.
Juli Boeheim, co-founder of the foundation and wife of the SU head men’s basketball coach, is certainly enthusiastic about what the $100,000 could do for the foundation. Juli Boeheim said fans can directly affect the outcome of this competition.
‘On the court we can’t do much,’ she said. ‘This is all about the fans. Totally fan regulated.’
The voting started Jan. 18 and will last throughout an eight-week period. There are four different brackets for the 48 teams competing in the tournament. Throughout the first six weeks, all teams are still included in the competition. After the sixth week, the leader from each bracket moves onto the final four round. In the eighth and final round, a winner will be determined.
Syracuse is in the East region and, as of Sunday night, is in third place with 11 percent of the vote. The teams in front of SU are coach John Calipari of Kentucky, leading with 34 percent of the vote, and coach Bob Huggins of West Virginia with 31 percent of the vote. The first period of voting ends Feb. 27.
‘I can’t believe Kentucky fans and West Virginia fans are beating us,’ Juli Boeheim said.
While Juli Boeheim admits Syracuse has a lot of ground to make up, she said she has faith that the SU fan base and members around the Syracuse community can make up that margin during the home stretch of voting.
Juli Boeheim said Syracuse would win the contest if the students, among the more than 33,000 fans supporting the Orange at the game against Connecticut on Saturday, voted.
If Syracuse were to win, the money would go to the Boeheims’ foundation, which was founded two years ago. The mission statement on the foundation Web page is to enrich the lives of kids in need within the Central New York community. In addition, the charity also provides support for eliminating cancer through research and advocacy.
Juli Boeheim said if the foundation won the $100,000, it would stay right in the community. She said the fans and community members would even decide where that money goes, as long as it stays within the foundation’s mission statement and complies with NCAA rules.
‘Within the guidelines, we would like the community to have a say where we put the dollars,’ Juli Boeheim said.
She said if the contest has done anything, it has raised publicity for the foundation. She said just by logging onto www.ESPN.com/Infiniti, voters can cast their ballot and see all the different coaches’ charities.
‘I like any sort of awareness we can get,’ Juli Boeheim said. ‘Win or lose, we’ve raised our awareness for sure.’
Still, the ultimate goal is to come out on top and walk away with $100,000 for a foundation that Juli Boeheim said has been so successful up to this point.
‘The needs are huge out there in the community,’ she said. ‘And the $100,000 could go a very long way right here in Syracuse.’
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