AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl will host the inaugural Hoops for Hope AU camp on Friday, July 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Neville Arena.
The mission of Hoops for Hope AU is threefold – to provide a fun, encouraging and positive activity for individuals with special needs and their families, while interacting with the men’s basketball team and staff.
More than 35 athletes, individuals with Down syndrome, ages 12 and older, have registered for the clinic through a partnership with Down Syndrome Alabama.
“This camp was first started by my daughter, Jacqui,” Pearl said. “She is the executive director for the Koinonia Foundation – our family’s major philanthropy when I coached at UT. Some of her Koinonia campers were children and young adults with Down syndrome. As a group, they were as loving, affectionate and enthusiastic as any. We had a ‘play day’ for them resulting in a partnership with ‘Hoops for Hope.’ It has always been a wonderful experience for our players and the participants over the years.”
Participants will be divided into teams based on their age and will be coached by Auburn players. Each team will have the opportunity to scrimmage on the main floor at Neville Arena. While teams are not playing, there will be stations for participants to go through basketball drills with their respective coaches.
“Hoops for Hope is a wonderful opportunity for the community to connect with our friends with Down syndrome and share the joy that comes from service, friendship and sports,” said David Sexton, Founder of Hoops for Hope. “We are grateful for the support of Coach Pearl and the Auburn Basketball team as this great event comes to Auburn for the first time. This is an opportunity to extend a hand, and fellowship of love, to each other. We know all who attend will be uplifted. They will have an experience that warms their hearts.”
Parents, family members and the general public are also invited to attend free of charge. Participants will have the opportunity to get autographs at the culmination of the event.
Hoops for Hope began in 2008 in conjunction with the University of Tennessee men’s and women’s basketball teams in Knoxville, Tenn.