The 13th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, which will be held in May in Sarasota, announced three prominent sports figures who will be honored at the fundraiser.
The honorees are University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton, and ESPN television and radio personality Mike Greenberg.
The gala benefits childhood cancer research and will be held May 11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. The event is hosted by The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a cancer charity started by ESPN and Jim Valvano. Hall of Fame sportscaster Dick Vitale, a Lakewood Ranch resident, created the gala in 2006.
“It is hard to believe that we are in the 13th year of our annual gala. This one is going to be off the charts with honorees Mike Greenberg, Leonard Hamilton and Jim Harbaugh – all dedicated to helping kids battling cancer,” Vitale said. “There will be a special tribute to two special children we’ve lost, Tony Colton and Chad Carr, during the evening. This year, we will break our record and raise over $3.5 million.”
Harbaugh was a 1987 Heisman Trophy finalist and led the San Francisco 49ers to an appearnce in Super Bowl XLVII before taking the Michigan job.
Hamilton, the most successful men’s basketball coach in FSU history, has led the Seminoles to 299 wins in 16 seasons and is a three-time national coach of the year.
Greenberg is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame, a long-time ESPN personality and author of “All You Could Ask For,” a tribute to a family friend who lost a battle to breast cancer. Greenberg donates 100 percent of the proceeds from the book to the V Foundation.
“The Dick Vitale Gala lives up to Jim Valvano’s recipe for a great day: you laugh, you think and you cry,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “All this in all-star company leads to an evening of great fun — and most importantly — great help for children with cancer.”
The gala routinely has recruited big names each year to help build support and momentum to defeat pediatric cancer. According to the foundation, only 4 percent of federal cancer research funding is dedicated to prediatric cancer, one of the leading cuases of death by disease for American children.
The foundation said the event has raised more than $21 million, with last year’s gala pulling in over $3 million. The foundation has awarded $30 million in pediatric research grants.