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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Clemson University Football and two-time National Championship coach Dabo Swinney will speak at the 2020 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner presented by the Carroll Companies benefitting the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment, the Greensboro Sports Council announced today.  Founded in 2008, The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner was renamed in 2011 in memory of the late associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The 2020 event is set for Wed., May 13 on the Greensboro Coliseum arena floor. 

2019 Dinner with Naismith Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim Raises $30,328

Swinney led the Clemson Tigers to two of the last three College Football Playoff national championships.  He took over as the Clemson head coach during the 2008 season and never looked back winning 122 of his 152 games including six wins this season for a .802 winning percentage. 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-one percent of all children and 64 percent of African American children do not know how to swim; drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

“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.  “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 played on the University of Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.  He became a graduate assistant coach before being promoted to the Crimson Tide receiver’s coach; he maintained that role from 1996-2001.  He moved to Clemson as the receiver’s coach under Terry Bowden in 2003 before being named interim head coach during the 2008 season and head coach in 2009 when he led the team to an Orange Bowl victory and a top-10 final ranking. 

Today, the Clemson Tigers are one of the most-dominant football programs in the country with multiple national championships and regular appearances in the College Football Playoff.  Last year’s 2018 team finished 15-0 with a national championship victory over Alabama in the final game.

“Dabo Swinney will be an outstanding keynote speaker at the 2020 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This annual event continues to be one of great significance as it brings together the Greensboro community to celebrate Fred’s life and raise money for the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim Program – a very worthy cause that benefits our entire city.”

The Greensboro Sports Council donated $30,328 to the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment following last year’s Fred Barakat Sports Dinner featuring Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim.  Included in that contribution was the $10,000 donation Boeheim made to the endowment during the dinner on behalf of the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation; the dinner itself raised $20,328.  

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 event contributed $30,000 to the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment following the 2018 Fred Barakat Sports Dinner featuring John Feinstein.

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 visit: www.greensborosportscouncil.com or contact Courtnie Carter at courtnie@greensborosf.com or (336) 335-1592.  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 Boeheim, former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, best-selling author John Feinstein, ESPN college basketball analyst and Duke alumnus Jay Bilas, CBS Sports college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg and 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 Tournament at Sedgefield Country Club, the United States Olympic Committee Table Tennis Olympic Trials, the ACC Baseball Tournament when applicable as well as any NCAA Championships hosted in the area. 

In addition, the Council hosts the HAECO Invitational high school basketball tournament each December.  Founded in 1976, this annual event donates its proceeds to charity and the participating schools each year.

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