Duke men’s basketball legend Gene Banks will participate in the Fire Truck Ball Drop as part of the Catawba Valley Community College Red Hawk golf tournament presented by Bluewater Logistics LLC and the Gulfstream Shippers Association on Monday.
The 1978 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, Banks is excited to be a part of this annual event that helps provide support for Red Hawk student-athletes.
“I have a wonderful relationship with Catawba Valley, and my name was brought up as interested in helping CVCC out. I’m here for the community,” Banks said. “Whatever I can do for the community, I will do it. Catawba Valley is a great school. I met some great people over there. Their president Garrett Hinshaw is an amazing guy. I like him not only as a person, but I consider him a friend.”
Banks recently visited CVCC’s campus, gaining some insight into the Red Hawk athletic programs and meeting many of Catawba Valley’s student-athletes.
“I love the athletic facilities, and I even spoke to the young ladies on the basketball team,” Banks said. “(Athletic Director) Nick Schroeder gave me a nice tour. He’s a great guy as well. I like everything that they are doing. They are doing all the right things, and I’m very proud to see those things and know they are helping student-athletes. We have to remember that there are millionaires and doctors who have come from junior colleges. Going to a junior college is a better step sometimes than going to a major college.”
Hinshaw is proud to have Banks involved with this year’s event.
“We are honored that Duke basketball legend Gene Banks will be visiting with Red Hawk Nation for our annual golf tournament,” Hinshaw said. “Gene sees the value for access and opportunity through NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) athletics and a great partner for Catawba Valley Community College.”
After meeting Banks and giving him a campus tour, Schroeder saw the passion that Banks has for student-athletes, and the two spoke about the power of athletics on the junior college level through the NJCAA.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Gene Banks and talk about junior college athletics,” Schroeder said. “He truly has a heart for the students and creating great opportunities to those underserved populations that desire to have academic and athletic success.”
Banks, who played for the Blue Devils from 1977-81 and was a First Team All-ACC performer in addition to ACC Rookie of the Year, will drop the numbered golf balls from atop the ladder of a fire truck, which was graciously donated for use by the city of Newton.
Entry into the Fire Truck Ball Drop costs $50, with the winner receiving $2,500.
Fire Truck Ball Drop tickets can also be purchased through the Super Ticket Package at the tournament, which includes entry into the putting contest, two mulligans and one ticket into the Golf Surprise Raffle.
This Fire Truck Ball Drop experience will be unique one not only for the participants, but for Banks as well.
“I’m scared of heights, but I’m doing it for the good of the college and community,” he said. “I told them if I pass out, I just ask that they resuscitate me.”
The Fire Truck Ball Drop is one of many special events that will take place at the tournament, including the Mark Story $1 Million Shot, where participants have a chance to take home $500,000 and help CVCC Athletics in receiving $500,000.
There will be unique Hole-in-One contests where participants have the chance to win their choice of “bucket list” experiences.
Full information about the Red Hawk Golf Tournament is available at www.gocvcc.com/golftournament.
To register and/or sponsor the event, contact Terri Livingston at 828-327-7000, ext. 4510, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.