COLUMBIA — Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is one of four finalists in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge, which awards $100,000 to a charity of the winning NCAA basketball coach's choice.
Haith, representing the South region, faces stiff competition in the form of West Virginia coach Bob Huggins representing the East region, Brigham Young University coach Dave Rose representing the West region, and Ohio State coach Thad Matta representing the Midwest region. These four were pared down from 48 entrants over the past seven weeks.
- Go to ESPN.com/infiniti.
- Sign into your ESPN.com account, or create one if you haven't already
- Vote daily for the coach of your choice
- Voting ends on March 8
Haith's charity is the Boys and Girls Club in Columbia. Prior to Haith, former Missouri basketball coach Mike Anderson acted as a local spokesperson for the club, so Haith chose to follow suit and help raise awareness about the club, Boys and Girls Club executive director Valorie Livingston said.
Livingston said the club has been running a capital campaign to build a new Boys and Girls Club facility with an outdoor basketball court.
If Haith wins the challenge, the $100,000 will be put toward building the facility with an enclosed court, so fitness programs will be available to boys and girls year-round, "regardless of the crazy Missouri weather," Livingston said.
The challenge has been promoted through a variety of media, including on KOMU and several local radio stations, as well as through social media.
"The athletic department has been wonderful about sending emails, tweets and Facebook announcements to Tiger fans," Livingston said. "We've been promoting it every way we can, as well."
As of Friday afternoon, Haith is in fourth place, with 9 percent of the vote. Voting ends March 8, with the winner to be announced March 9, so there is less than a week for Haith to overtake the front-runner Huggins, who has 31 percent.
"We really need this to go viral, and we need people voting every day for Coach Haith to win," Livingston said.
The total contribution for the challenge, which is a partnership between the NCAA, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and ESPN, will be more than $300,000. Infiniti will also donate $5,000 to all 48 coaches' charities.