Mike Viglianti, Dick Vitale and the late Jim Valvano have much more in common than being basketball coaches and having a last name that begins with "V."
Viglianti, the Palisades boys basketball coach, and Vitale, the ESPN broadcaster, share Valvano's passion for life and have picked up his desire to help others.
cancer, and this year the Pirates raised more than ever.
Last week during the Final Four in New Orleans, Viglianti and several others representing the Palisades program handed a check for $4,000 to Vitale.
"We've raised more money every year and this year's total was our highest yet," Viglianti said. "The kids go out and get pledges and we shoot free throws. It's not just the high school program, but the entire youth program as well.
"As a coach, I've always felt it was important to mix in some life lessons with the basketball stuff," Viglianti said. "You want your kids to know how important it is to give back to others."
The connection with Vitale comes through Anaconda Sports, a company for which Vitale is a spokesperson.
Les Lombardi of Anaconda attends Moravian College's coaches clinic every year and Viglianti met Vitale through Lombardi.
"We know that Vitale makes a public appearance at the Final Four every year for Anaconda and we've seen him at this event," Viglianti said. "He has come to know us now and looks forward to seeing us every year because he knows we're bringing a check. He's always very gracious."
This year, Viglianti had a request. He had the Pro Basketball Hall of Famer autograph a ball for Danny Martinelli, an 11-year-old in the community who has been battling cancer.
"I can't say enough about Bob Shoemaker, who is one of my middle school coaches and the commissioner of the Palisades Youth Basketball Association," Viglianti said. "He wanted to get the middle school kids involved and expanded to the community. He has really worked hard in promoting this endeavor and has helped us raise a lot of money."
Viglianti isn't sure how many more Final Fours he will be able to attend, but he's hopeful of continuing the fight against cancer and encouraging his kids to raise as much money as possible.
"We'd like to win more games at Palisades," Viglianti said. "But we're not only trying to develop good players, but good people as well."
Viglianti has also been involved in the Jeff Dailey Memorial Golf Tournament and said that this year's event, set for June 15 at Green Pond Country Club, is already sold out with 288 golfers committed.
UFC CHAMP MADE IMPRESSION
It was April Fool's Day, but there was no foolin' around on April 1 when nine-time UFC champ Matt Hughes and Cage Fitness pro Jessy Norton visited Leading Edge Martial Arts in Allentown.
Together Hughes and Norton conducted a number of classes for more than 60 people.
Hughes is the co-creator of Cage Fitness and face of the company. Cage Fitness is a 30-minute, high-intensity interval training program modeled after a championship MMA fight. The workout consists of five 5-minute rounds.
Leading Edge Martial Arts was the first school to bring Cage Fitness to the Lehigh Valley in the fall of 2010 and conducts more than 50 classes per week between its two locations in Allentown and Bethlehem.