GREENSBORO, N.C. – Although the United States is making progress in its ongoing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner presented by the Carroll Companies, originally scheduled for 2020, is now scheduled for 2022, the Greensboro Sports Council announced today.
Clemson University Football and two-time National Championship coach Dabo Swinney graciously postponed his appearance a second time and will speak at the 2022 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner presented by the Carroll Companies benefitting the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Founded in 2008, The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner was renamed in 2011 in memory of the late associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Swinney led the Clemson Tigers to two of the last five College Football Playoff national championships taking the title in 2017 and ’19. Swinney’s appearance at the Fred Barakat Sports Dinner will raise funds for the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim program which aims to teach every second-grade student in the Guilford County School System water-safety skills. Sixty-four percent of African American, 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino and 40 percent of Caucasian children do not know how to swim. Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, and formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent.
“I’m looking forward to speaking in Greensboro next spring to help raise money for a great cause and remember the life of Fred Barakat who did so much for ACC Basketball,” Swinney said in 2019 after first accepting the invitation to speak at the Greensboro dinner. “I’ve heard a little about the Learn-to-Swim program this dinner benefits, and if my speaking at this event can help keep kids safe when they’re swimming, that’s a win for all of us!”
Swinney’s most recent squad accomplished its “double-double mission” in 2020, going 10-2 in a condensed season to give Clemson 10 consecutive 10-win seasons. Clemson became only the third program in FBS history to accomplish the feat and became the first school to win 10 games in 10 straight seasons as a member of the ACC. Clemson claimed its sixth-consecutive outright conference title with a 34-10 win against Notre Dame in the 2020 ACC Football Championship game. The conference title helped Clemson secure its record-tying sixth College Football Playoff berth, becoming the first program ever to reach the postseason tournament in six consecutive seasons.
“We look forward to Dabo Swinney joining us in Greensboro for this worthwhile cause,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “Dabo is an incredible ambassador for the ACC and college athletics. He is not only a six-time ACC Champion and two-time National Champion, but a dedicated family man who is committed to the student-athletes and helping them become champions on and off the field.”
During this event in 2017, the Greensboro Sports Council introduced the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment which was created to help fund the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program. This vital effort aims to teach every second-grade student attending the Guilford County Schools how to swim at no expense to the family; the Learn-to-Swim program is privately funded. The fund was named in honor of Greensboro Coliseum Complex Managing Director Matt Brown who is a passionate supporter of the Learn-to-Swim program.
Barakat joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1981 as the supervisor of men’s basketball officials. He was later named assistant commissioner and was then promoted to associate commissioner, director of men’s basketball. For 16 years he served as the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament director along with his other basketball responsibilities that included scheduling, managing the league’s television partners and officiating. He passed away in 2010.
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner is open to the general public; corporate partnerships offering access to the VIP reception with Coach Swinney are currently being sold by the Greensboro Sports Council. Individual tickets are $125, tables of 10 are $1,000; for additional information, please email the Greensboro Sports Council, email@example.com. For additional information on the Learn-to-Swim program, please visit www.greensboroaquaticcenter.com/learn-to-swim.
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner highlights significant figures in or related to the Atlantic Coast Conference or one of its sports. Previous featured guests at the event are Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse University Men’s Basketball coach Jim Boeheim, former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, best-selling author John Feinstein, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, ESPN college basketball analyst and Duke alumnus Jay Bilas, CBS Sports college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg and former CBS Sports golf analyst Gary McCord.
The dinner occasionally features roundtable discussions such as “Legends of the ACC” with Duke’s Mike Gminski, North Carolina’s Phil Ford, NC State’s Derrick Whittenburg and Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress, “Coaches of the ACC” featuring Wake Forest’s Dave Odom, Maryland’s Gary Williams, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Cremins and NC State’s Les Robinson and a reunion of the 1974 NC State University NCAA National Championship team with David Thompson, Monte Towe, Tommy Burleson and assistant coach Eddie Biedenbach.
Founded in 1959, the Greensboro Sports Council is the official host organization for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex providing hospitality, resources and community interaction for events held at the Coliseum Complex. The Sports Council supports sports events in Greensboro and Guilford County such as the ACC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, Wyndham Championship PGA TOUR event, U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the ACC Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, various NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the ACC Women’s Golf Championship at Sedgefield Country Club, the United States Olympic Committee Table Tennis Olympic Trials, the ACC Baseball Tournament when applicable as well as NCAA Championships hosted in the area.
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Photo Caption: Syracuse University Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim, left, spoke during the 2019 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner presented by the Carroll Companies. Raycom Sports basketball and football play-by-play announcer Tom Werme, right, conducted the Boeheim interview. (Photo Courtesy: Joey Kirkman/Greensboro Coliseum)