YSU basketball gathers donations for flood victims

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Some of the donated items the Youngstown State men’s basketball program will send to Texas.

YOUNGSTOWN — Jerrod Calhoun and his wife, Sarah, were talking to one of his former players, Eric Love, the other day over a speakerphone.

Love, who played for Walsh University when Calhoun was an assistant there, is trapped in his house in Houston because of the flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

Love is safe, but it got Calhoun, the Youngstown State University men’s basketball coach, thinking.

A tweet from University of Houston men’s coach Kelvin Sampson got Calhoun involved. The Cougars coach thanked all his friends and colleagues for their thoughts and prayers, but challenged them. All programs from Division I to NAIA, and even high schools, should each donate 20 t-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes and send them to the university. The plea has become a massive influx of clothes and shoes heading to Houston to help the flooding victims.

Calhoun challenged the YSU community and surrounding area to donate items.

“Any time there’s a natural disaster like that and you’re constantly watching CNN and FOX, your heart breaks for those people,” Calhoun said. “You see little kids in the streets. You see families stranded, thousands of people affected by this.

“When Kelvin Sampson put that tweet out that he wanted coaches and programs to help, we wanted to do something. We wanted to have an impact and do something for the cause.”

YSU plans to send items on Friday morning and the Penguins are not limiting it to T-shirts and shoes, said Penguins assistant to the men’s basketball coach Danny Reese. New or used items can be donated of men’s, women’s or children’s clothes or shoes.

Reese added that there have been YSU athletic programs, administration, businesses and other people who have donated so far.

Reese said any donations are being accepted today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Room 302 in Beeghly Center.

Those who are donating can park at the meters off of Armed Forces Boulevard, and bring the donation up to the office. If help is needed, come up to the office first and someone from YSU men’s basketball can assist.

“We’re looking to send as much as we can down there,” Reese said.

The YSU coaches offices are under construction, but that doesn’t matter. Calhoun said they’ll make room for all donations.

“Someone else is bringing a bag right now,” he said. “You can see it’s a really, really good thing.”

It’s a message he’s relaying to his players, a teaching point if you will.

Calhoun wants his players to make more of a difference, rather than just watching and feeling sorry for those devastated by this horrific event.

“I think they feel part of this and helping this cause,” he said.

As competitive as basketball coaches are in season or during recruiting, this goes to show that all unify for a worthwhile cause.

“I think Kelvin Sampson did a really good thing for the city,” Calhoun said. “It’s not about publicity. It’s about awareness.

“That’s why we do articles like this so other people can help those people out and send things.”