No Shoes Necessary For Hunter

By Josh Herwitt - January 04, 2008

Over the past six seasons in Indianapolis, Ron Hunter has taken IUPUI to new heights.

But the two-time Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year doesn't need any wingtips or loafers when it comes to capturing the program's most wins (204) and highest winning percentage (.545) prior to this season.

So on Jan. 24, Hunter will walk into The Jungle without any footwear strapped to his feet and coach the Jaguars against an Oakland team that sits currently at 7-7 overall and 2-1 in the Summit League after nipping North Dakota State Thursday night with a 73-72 victory.

The gesture is part of a campaign set up by Samaritan's Feet and the Black Coaches Association to celebrate Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 21) and Black History Month by honoring underprivileged children all across the globe.

And with Hunter's help, Samaritan's Feet, a 501 c3 organization dedicated to providing shoes for children throughout the world, hopes to raise 40,000 pairs in honor of the 40th anniversary of MLK's death.

"We have been given an incredible opportunity and platform as coaches to use our status as role models for others and help children in need," Hunter said. "My goal is to provide shoes for impoverished children throughout the world through Samaritan's Feet. We picked this time of the year to honor Dr. King and others during Black History Month coming up in February."

Emmanuel Ohonme, who founded Samaritan's Feet in 2003 after leaving a lucrative marketing and supply chain job, received his first pair of shoes at the age of nine from a missionary in his home country, Nigeria.

It was there that Ohonme also learned how to play basketball, spending his childhood and high school days on the court before eventually earning a scholarship to play at the University of North Dakota, Lake Region.

While Ohonme never took his game further, earning his bachelors and masters degrees in Devils Lake, N.D., rather than playing overseas, his work has continued to touch many throughout the basketball community and most recently Hunter, who met the aspiring philanthropist several weeks ago and immediately connected with the organization's cause.

"I'm so pleased with the decision that Coach Hunter has made," Ohonme said. "Ron and I are encouraging others to get involved as well, including CEO's, other coaches, business executives, etc. to help us raise 40,000 pairs of shoes for children throughout the world."

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:45 AM on January 04, 2008

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