Barefoot Coach prepares for 2nd Annual Barefoot Walk
(Part of “The Barefoot Season”)
West Columbia, SC — Glenforest School Head Coach, William Knopf, has given new meaning to the old cliché, “Put your best foot forward,” each night when his Bulldogs take to the hardwood. The 2010-11 Glenforest basketball schedule is clearly labeled “The Barefoot Season”. In his 3rd season of supporting Samaritan’s Feet, to raise awareness about the plight of millions of children who are without shoes, Coach Knopf has taken the concept to the next level. Coach Knopf scheduled his opponents this year if they agreed to go barefoot. Through 16 games, coaches from Hammond School, Heathwood Hall, Hilton Head Prep, Palmetto Christian Academy (Mt. Pleasant), Christian Academy (Myrtle Beach), Andrew Jackson Academy (Ehrhardt), Newberry Academy, St. Francis Xavier (Sumter), Wardlaw Academy (Johnston), Greenwood Christian School, Oakbrook Prep (Spartanburg), Clarendon Hall (Summerton), and Anderson Christian have shed their shoes to make a difference. As of Friday, January 14, 2011, Knopf will have coached 31 consecutive games in his bare feet dating back to last January 2010.
This year the 2nd Annual Barefoot Walk (8 miles) will be Friday, January 21 (rescheduled due to weather). The walk will start at Brittons on Devine Street. Once again the walk takes place around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Knopf explained, ”The reason I choose this particular Friday each year is because I think that it’s an opportunity to educate others about the values and beliefs of Dr. King and teach my students to do for others.
This year the walk will start at the front door of Brittons located at 2818 Devine Street, Columbia, SC. Beginning at 1:30pm Knopf will walk back towards West Columbia, and over the Gervais Street bridge, to Glenforest School where he will coach his Bulldogs against South Aiken Baptist.
Perry Lancaster, Brittons store manager, is no stranger to community support and he has been on board since day one. Lancaster will join Knopf barefoot in the car-rider line at Glenforest School on the morning of Thursday, January 20. Bearing frigid weather, they will greet Glenforest parents and pass out flyers to encourage people to get involved.
Members of the Glenforest School Student Government and basketball players will join Coach Knopf and Lancaster for a brief distance on the walk. Various community members will be joining Knopf (aka. The Barefoot Coach) during the 8-mile walk along the way including: The Honorable Stephen Benjamin, City of Columbia Mayor; Congressman; Joe Wilson, Randy Scott, City of Columbia Police Chief; Bobby Horton, West Columbia Mayor; Brian McConchie, WACH Fox 57 News Anchor; Chris Dearing, Sports Writer The State Newspaper; Andrew Peckham, Covenant Classical Christian School Basketball Coach; and Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Lexington County Sheriff’s Department members, and several other prominent members of the Columbia.
Barefoot Coaches around the Country
In November of 2007, Samaritan’s Feet asked Ron Hunter, a college basketball coach (IUPUI), to take off his shoes and socks to raise 40,000 pairs of shoes and draw awareness to the world-wide issue of 300 million children without shoes.
Coach Hunter said yes and embraced the goal of 40,000 pairs of shoes that he wanted donated by January 24th. In less than six weeks, his goal was blown out of the water. By tip-off Coach Hunter and Samaritan’s Feet had raised over 140,000 pairs of shoes and over $30,000. The media exposure was incredible. Over 439 media outlets covered the story before and after he coached the game, including, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, LA Times and many more. He also personally delivered the shoes with his team to Lima, Peru in August. Coach Hunter and hundreds like him continue to take off their shoes and coach 1 game barefoot.
Glenforest School Student Government Service Project
After following the story and taking over the role as Student Government Advisor, Knopf felt this would be a great opportunity for the small School of 62 students located off I-26 in West Columbia to get involved. “We are not strangers to service at Glenforest, but this is a cause that has become close to our hearts. Every child deserves the safety and protection of having shoes on their feet. Knowing that we can do something as simple as going barefoot to get the whole community involved in caring for children in need is absolutely incredible,” said Knopf. The students at Glenforest will have a $2.00 dress down day to help raise funds. There will also be a poster contest between the students. During half time of the game on the January 21, there will be a barefoot game of knock out between the students.
History of Barefoot Coach Knopf
Knopf’s barefoot coaching debut in 2009 at Glenforest School in West Columbia yielded 212 pairs of donated shoes and over $200 for Samaritan’s Feet. Knopf said students, their families and members of the community jumped right in to join the cause.
In 2010, Knopf coached the final 13 games of the season barefoot, including the SCISA Class A State Championship game. He also walked 8 miles barefoot through downtown Columbia to a rival game in January. “Upon arriving at the game that night, I noticed that my feet were covered with blood blisters”, Knopf said. Knopf added “I had to coach the game with my feet in buckets of ice, I couldn’t imagine a child going without a pair of shoes for 1 day”. Last year, was more than Glenforest families, it was the entire Columbia area jumping on board. Knopf’s efforts collected over 700 pair of shoes and raised nearly $1,000.00. Samaritan’s Feet named Knopf the 2010 National Barefoot Coach of the Year and recognized him during the 2010 NCAA Final Four festivities in Indianapolis. CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg and TNT’s Ernie Johnson presented the award.
Knopf continues to issue challenges to coaches at all levels throughout South Carolina, as well as radio, TV and newspaper sports reporters to take off their shoes, get on their bare feet and join the cause. He has contacted over 100 coaches and has gained support of many. Knopf also hopes to raise funds and collect several hundred pairs of new children’s shoes as a part of the national Shoes of Hope campaign sponsored by the nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet. “My hope is that this year coaches, athletic directors, student government advisors, school principals, and media all across the state will join us to help South Carolina make one of the largest contributions ever to Samaritan’s Feet. Coaches can help make a great statement to students as well as their entire community about the importance and value of serving others,” Knopf added.
The public is invited to join Knopf in supporting the Shoes of Hope campaign by making monetary donations at http://samaritansfeet.org/gobulldogs/ or by donating new pairs of children’s shoes.
You can drop off shoes at any of the following locations through Monday, February 28, 2011:
Glenforest School (West Columbia)
Brittons of Columbia (2818 Devine St.)
WACH Fox 57 News Lobby (Pickens St)
Good for the Sole (Shoes & Accessories) 631-D Harden St.
Columbia Police Dept. (1 Justice Square)
Lexington County Sheriff’s Dept. Headquarters (Gibson Rd.)
Lexington County Sheriff’s Dept. South Region Substation (Pelion)
Lexington County Sheriff’s Dept. North Region Substation (Irmo)
Lexington County Sheriff’s Dept. West Region Substation (Gilbert)
Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. 7102 Two Notch Rd (Columbia Place)
About Samaritan’s Feet:
Samaritan’s Feet is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives though Shoes of Hope distributions around the world. About 300 million people wake up each morning without a pair of shoes to protect their feet from injury and disease. The goal of Samaritan’s Feet is to provide shoes to 10 million of these individuals in the next 10 years. To learn more, visit online athttp://www.samaritansfeet.org.
About Glenforest School:
Glenforest School is dedicated to serving and educating children with learning differences, helping them to draw on their unique strengths and to persevere in the midst of their challenges. Glenforest serves students who struggle with ADD/ADHD), Central Auditory Processing Disorder, dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other learning issues. Our success rests in our ability to acknowledge that since children learn differently, we must teach differently. To learn more about Glenforest, visit online at glenforest.org
For more information
Contact Glenforest School:
1041 Harbor Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169/ 803.796.7622/ Glenforest.org
Coach William Knopf, Athletic Director, (803) 513-1918 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Winkler, Head of School, (803) 796-7622, email@example.com
Shayna Simoneaux, Public Relations, (803) 556-825, firstname.lastname@example.org