• September 28, 2022

Donate for every made trey: Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer issues March Madness challenge to help raise money for war-torn Ukraine

Update: The official website for pledges and donations is taras3ptchallenge.com.

Thursday afternoon in a press conference and the day before her No. 1-seed team begins playing in the NCAA tournament, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer issued a challenge to her fellow coaches, fans, and anyone who supports women’s basketball: Donate $10 for every three-point shot made in the tournament to a Ukrainian humanitarian aid fund. The ongoing military invasion of the country by Russia in which Ukrainian civilian deaths rise daily and over three million have become refugees has weighed heavily on VanDerveer’s mind.

During the presser, she recalled the time she spent in the capital city Kyiv, on a tour with USA Basketball when she was the head coach of the U.S. women’s senior national team over 25 years ago. With her on that trip, was another former USA Basketball head coach, Nell Fortner. Currently, Fortner coaches at Georgia Tech, and her team begins their run in the tournament at Stanford as well with a first-round matchup against Kansas.

VanDerveer’s comments:

One of the coaches that’s here from Georgia Tech is Nell Fortner, who was my assistant at the Olympics, about 26 years ago, about now, Nell and I were in the city of Kyiv. And I know other coaches and all of you in this room, we’re in this little basketball bubble, but I want to put a challenge out to other coaches to our fans, to everyone in here. I’ve already my sister has already accepted the challenge. I’d like to donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, and I’m not sure which fund it will be yet, $10 for every three-point made in the NCAA women’s tournament. So, Dayton is already costing me some money. But I just want to hope that men’s coaches, women’s coaches, women’s fans, you know especially, for Nell and I. When I see Nell, I know that we’ll go back to a great time.

I’d like to tell a quick story of what happened. When our team was in Ukraine, we played the Ukraine national team at least ten times. I would call them our cousins because we saw them in so many tournaments and played against them. So, maybe, I have an affinity for the country, and watching what’s happening has been really, really very hard. But when our team was leaving Ukraine, women, at 3:30 in the morning, were begging outside of our bus, and our team emptied their suitcases, emptied their wallets, and, you know, just were very generous. And I hope that I hope that our NCAA tournament, I hope people can make a lot of threes, and I can be very generous, and I hope that other people will get on board with this challenge. And after every NCAA tournament day, will post how much I owe. And I’d like people to match the challenge. Did I get any takers? Even if it’s a dime a three. I’m going $10 a three.

During her time with the media later in the day, Fortner did not hesitate to join VanDerveer’s challenge:

I have not seen Tara yet. I know I will, maybe, later today. But I just heard about that on the bus ride over. Someone handed me a phone and it showed what they had put on Twitter. So, absolutely, I’ll jump on that. There’s not a doubt. There’s no question about it. And right when I read it, I said, I’m in. That was a phenomenal trip over there. And it was an eye-opening trip in a lot of ways. There were several stories that I could go into. We don’t have enough time. But it was really an interesting trip, an educational trip, along with a good basketball trip. I’m in.

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