On the Road with Mike: Fifth Annual Dick Vitale Gala

Nick Bollettieri and Mike Fratello attend the Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Florida in 2008.

I’m in Sarasota, Florida for the Fifth Annual Dick Vitale Gala to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Every year they recognize two people for their outstanding achievements. This year’s honorees are former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo.

A number of coaching greats and sports personalities will be in attendance tonight including Magic Johnson, John Calipari, Nick Bollettieri, David Brooks, Tom Green, Mike Greenberg, Seth Greenberg, Bob Huggins, Tommy Lasorda, Steve Mariucci and Bruce Pearl.

I’ve attended the last couple years and witnessed some very special and moving moments. One time they spontaneously auctioned off four front row seats to the upcoming Duke-Carolina game. In 2008 Vitale pledged the use of his home for a 50-person catered dinner and he asked for $100,000. Pat Riley raised his hand, but told Vitale to forget about hosting the dinner. Instead, they’d go eat at a restaurant. Inspiring acts of generosity like that have transpired over the years.

2009 Dick Vitale Gala to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

I’m looking forward to spending a night of high energy with Dickie V who is the greatest at helping raise money to continue cancer research. His goal is to raise $1,000,000 for a pediatric research grant and local hospitals. If you would like to make a donation, please call 1-800-4-JIMMYV.

Dick Vitale with Mike Fratello at a Friends of Fratello Foundation fundraising dinner circa 1984.

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