Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
On Aug. 25, tropical storm-turned-Category 4 Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, and in the coming days, severe winds, rain and floods had gravely damaged much of Houston and the surrounding region.
In an effort to aid areas heavily affected by the hurricane, University of Houston men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson tweeted on Aug. 28, “I have had so many of my friends in the coaching profession text and call, offering prayers and thoughts for all Houstonians. They all ask what [they] can do to help. … Well, I came up with something I think coaches at all levels can help with. Both men’s and women’s [high school programs], [junior colleges], [every level of college]… If you can, please send 20 of your school’s T-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes to [our basketball program.] … We will get everything to the right agencies to be distributed.”
Duquesne associate athletic director Dave Saba saw coach Sampson’s request on Twitter on Monday night, and relayed the message to Duquesne men’s basketball head coach Keith Dambrot on Tuesday morning before practice.
“There was never hesitation to help out,” Saba said. “Coach Dambrot and the staff were all on-board immediately, and it got done in literally less than two hours.”
“We ended up sending 10 to 12 pairs of shoes, and at least 40 shirts. We filled two boxes, and tried to find smaller sizes for children and women that may be in need,” Saba continued.
“College basketball is a close-knit community so when someone may be in need of assistance, we’re always happy to help, and especially in a time like this,” he added.
Dambrot said that on top of his moral compass guiding him to assist Hurricane Harvey victims, he has interpersonal connections with several Houstonians that made the situation all the more resounding for him.
“Ironically for us, we had four Houston kids on our team at Akron [last season], and we played Houston in the NIT last year, so it kind of hit home for us especially,” Dambrot said.
“That’s really what you’re supposed to do. I mean, especially when you’re at an institution like Duquesne, where you’re a Catholic school and that’s kind of what you’re taught to do, so it’s only the right thing,” Dambrot remarked.
As the fiercest part of the storm has passed and the Houston area prepares for significant flooding, coaches from across the country hope that their contributions will be able to provide comfort to displaced victims.
“When you have extra stuff, which — everybody has some extra stuff that they can get to somebody that needs it,” Dambrot said. “To me, that’s almost a no-brainer.”