Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and NDSU Athletics
Every basketball player needs a nice pair of shoes. That was the goal when head men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips got himself and the basketball team involved with Samaritan’s Feet.
Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization, focuses on providing children in all four corners of the world with new shoes. Their mission is to instill hope in every less fortunate child on the Earth. Coach Phillips’ involvement began last year, when the founder of the organization, Emmanuel Ohonme, came to the coach’s door.
“I found myself very impressed with the charity and with the cause,” Phillips said. “In general, kids are very close to my heart and anything to help them will be something I’m interested in.”
Coach Phillips first displayed his support of the Samaritan’s Feet organization he left his dress shoes in the locker room and coached a game shoeless against the University of North Dakota last year. The public display caught the attention of many fans that went onto donate large sums of money to Samaritan’s Feet.
“It’s something that a few of us college coaches out there do,” Phillips said. The coach went on and listed Ron Hunter from Georgia State, Scott Nagy from South Dakota State and Brian Jones from the University of North Dakota as coaches who have supported Samaritan’s Feet by coaching a game shoeless.
Coach Phillips says he plans on going shoeless again this February and that’s when he wants you to donate to Samaritan’s Feet. NDSU will be setting up a donation fund and all you have to do is text the number and you will have donated $10 to Samaritan’s Feet. If you want to donate now, you can sponsor Coach Phillips at http://www.samaritansfeet.org.
Coaching without shoes isn’t the only way Coach Phillips and the basketball team have been showing their support for Samaritan’s Feet. Last month, he and the team went to a Fargo school to wash feet and give away shoes to underprivileged kids in the Fargo area telling us, “I think you’re always looking to impact the community that you live in and make it a better place.”
The basketball team isn’t the only team at NDSU that has gotten their feet clean with Samaritan’s Feet. The track team was involved over the summer with several track stars, including senior Landin Rognlin, helping out the less fortunate. “This year was really cool because it was the first time they had a site in Fargo,” Rognlin said. “Fifty people signed up before hand and we had over 200 pairs of shoes we gave out.”
Acts of kindness from Coach Phillips and Rognlin is what keeps this community strong and less fortunate with shoes on their feet. Involvement from the University, athletes and coaches is what us all together as a community and city. We are One Herd.