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Bollettieri to join Who's Who of NCAA coaches at Dick Vitale Gala

Nick Bollettieri, John Calipari and Dick Vitale

Now in its sixth year, the Dick Vitale Gala to raise money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research has quickly become an unbelievably successful event.

This year, Nick Bollettieri will be honored as the gala's special guest. Bollettieri will join Vitale and countless coaching greats, current and former athletes, TV analysts and many more, including from

As is Gala tradition, coaching greats and sports celebrities from across the country will join Vitale to honor Roy Williams and John Calipari.

Celebrity guests joining honorees Nick Bollettieri, John Calipari and Roy Williams include all four head coaches of the recent Final Four - Jim Calhoun, Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart (and Calipari).

Also scheduled to attend are: Celtic great Dave Cowens, Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown, Florida State Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher, baseball's Gary Sheffield and three former Heisman trophy winners, Desmond Howard, Chris Weinke and Vinnie Testaverde. Additional celebrities include Derek Whittenburg, Vince Carter and Tino Martinez.

An all-star group of collegiate basketball coaches scheduled to attend include: Jamie Dixon (Pitt), Billy Donovan (Florida), Tubby Smith (Univerity of Minnesota), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Seth Greenberg (Va. Tech), Travis Ford (Oklahoma State) Ben Howland (UCLA), Bob Huggins (WVU), Mark Gottfried (NCSU), Jay Wright (Villanova), Jamie Dixon (Pitt), and Gary Williams (Maryland). Men's doubles Wimbledon champ Don Johnson is also expected to appear. Gala Host John Saunders will be joined by fellow broadcast colleagues Erin Andrews, Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, Lesley Visser and Dereck Whittenburg.

From the Bradenton Herald:

On Aug. 1, the day after he turns 80, Nick Bollettieri will jump out of plane for the first time since 1975, when he was an Army paratrooper.

He has become rich and famous and recognized across the globe for many accomplishments, including coaching 10 tennis players who became No. 1 in the world.

But tonight, standing amid a sea of basketball celebrities at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Bollettieri will be recognized by the Dick Vitale Gala in its annual event to raise money for cancer research.

Bollettieri puts it right up there with the highest honors he has received, above being recognized as the most famous tennis coach in the world who founded his Tennis Academy that today has grown into IMG Academy.

“Being part of the Dick Vitale awards night means much more to me than whatever I had done in tennis,” Bollettieri said. “It means being recognized as a person who tries to help people. Teaching tennis is the easiest part. This means that I can be part of a cause to help fight the dreadful disease of cancer.

“I am an IMG guy, but I am hoping that IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program will remember Nick far more than for just teaching tennis, especially for delivering positive messages to our young people and my work with the Arthur Ashe Inner City programs.”

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