Oct. 15, 2012
One thing all college basketball coaches have in common is passion -- passion for the sport of basketball and helping to shape the lives of young student-athletes. For University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein, his passion extends far beyond Crisler Center and the William Davidson Player Development Center.
For the last two years, Coach Beilein has also channeled his passion into raising awareness and support for the St. Louis Center in Chelsea, Mich. Established in 1960, the St. Louis Center is a caring, residential, living and learning environment providing for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
During the 2011-12 season, Beilein represented the St. Louis Center in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge. Infiniti, a corporate partner of NCAA men's basketball, donated $5,000 to each participating coach's selected charity.
While on their fall break Monday (Oct. 15), Beilein and members of the team traveled to Chelsea to spend time with residents at the St. Louis Center.
Members of the St. Louis Center staff proudly showed off the new playground behind the facility that was made possible in part by Beilein's involvement.
After a brief tour, the team went to the gymnasium, where they were greeted by several residents. Each of the players introduced himself to the crowd and was met with an appreciative applause.
Beilein ran the players through different drills, showing off their ball-handling skills and shooting range, but the biggest hit proved to be the slam-dunk contest. After the players demonstrated each drill, residents were invited to show off their skills as well and take part in the drills alongside the players.
"It was a really great experience," senior Corey Person said. "It's the first time I have been here so to be able to come out and give back to these guys and make their day like this was a great opportunity."
It was also freshman Mitch McGary's first time visiting the St. Louis Center. Following the visit he commented on how important it is for him to be able to give back to the community. "It's been a great experience," McGary remarked. "I had the pleasure of hanging out with these kids that don't really get this opportunity often and made the best of it. Giving back is really important to me and I enjoy helping them every way that we can and making it fun for them."
Tim Hardaway Jr., who had visited the St. Louis Center before, said that it was great knowing what to expect this time, and that he hopes he can continue to come back and visit in the future. "It's great to see everybody having a good time and having fun," Hardaway commented. "It's great to see the smiles on everyone's faces doing the drills that we do every day. We want the community to know that Michigan basketball is out there to help the community any way we can and just put smiles on everybody's faces wherever we are."
Beilein plans on bringing the team back in a few months to spend more time with residents.
"These guys brightened my day so I definitely want to come back again," Person commented on returning to the St. Louis Center again soon.