Ted Woodward has advanced to the Round of 16 as part of the “Shots from the Heart” national coaches free-throw shooting competition.
The University of Maine’s seventh-year men’s basketball coach is among 64 Division I head coaches from across the country participating in the event, which is being sponsored by Collegeinsider.com. The Shots from the Heart project is designed to help raise awareness about the growing problem of heart disease.
“It’s a fun thing for coaches throughout the country,” Woodward said. “It’s a wonderful charity to be a part of. It’s something to catch people’s interest and to raise awareness regarding heart health and their charity.”
The free-throw shooting tournament will benefit the American Heart Association while paying tribute to former college coach Skip Prosser, who died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 56.
“He was such a classy, well-respected coach,” Woodward said.
Woodward, who is far-removed from his playing days, has nonetheless exhibited a pretty good touch from the line. He was victorious 23-19 in his November first-round match in the East Region against Mike Young of Wofford, then edged Buzz Williams of Marquette on a tiebreaker (sinking nine in a row) after the two both scored 21 points in the December competition.
Each shooting round consists of 25 foul shots. Coaches are awarded one point for each shot made through the first 20, then shots 21-24 are worth two points apiece. The final shot is worth three points.
“Fortunately, they’re not making us do a dunk contest,” quipped Woodward, who is up against Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon in this round.
Woodward made 18 shots Thursday in his Round of 16 appearance. He submits the results, then waits to hear how he fared against Dixon.
Dixon has some extra motivation. His sister, former Army women’s basketball head coach Maggie Dixon, died of an enlarged heart in 2006 at age 28.
“We’ll see how it goes,” said Woodward, who hasn’t put in much practice for the competition.
“There’s nothing really competitive about it. It’s for fun,” he added. “I”m just happy I went farther than coach Markwood.”
Chris Markwood, a UMaine assistant, lost in the first round of the SFTH assistant coaches tournament.
Woodward is happy to be able to use his position of notoriety to help generate publicity and money for the Shots from the Heart cause.
He explained corporate and private sponsors have contributed funds toward the effort.
Woodward also has been involved the the Ryan Gomes Foundation, which seeks to place a portable heart defibrillator in every high school gym across the country, and the Coaches vs. Cancer program endorsed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
“Collegeinsider.com does a wonderful job with all their different things, the website and tournament that they run,” Woodward said. “It’s something that we’re happy to be a part of.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Woodward can contact the UMaine men’s basketball office at 581-1094. All money raised is sent to the American Heart Association.
The four regional champions in the Shots from the Heart program will compete for the title during the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four in Houston.