College basketball coaches salute essential COVID-19 workers

MIKE FITZPATRICK (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Many of college basketball’s top coaches and biggest rivals teamed up with Madison Square Garden for a

Wednesday night saluting essential workers leading the fight against the coronavirus.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Villanova’s Jay Wright are some of the big names saying thank you in the 60-second spot, most of them appearing to be in their homes or backyards.

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Like plenty of other folks staying sheltered during the pandemic, a few of the coaches have stopped shaving regularly. Kentucky’s John Calipari and North Carolina’s Roy Williams sport thick gray beards, while Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing has a dark one.

Tony Bennett (Virginia), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Bill Self (Kansas) were also among the 15 active coaches who participated. Rick Pitino appears in an Iona basketball T-shirt, the program he recently took over.

Others on camera include Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman along with popular college basketball broadcasters Bill Raftery and Dick Vitale - who tells health care workers, first responders, educators and more: “We see you and you’re awesome, baby!”

The video opens with an aerial view of Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City, and Krzyzewski saying, “The college basketball community is calling a timeout” as he signals for one.

It concludes with another shot of MSG and 95-year-old former St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca saying, “We’ll see you back at the Garden!”

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