BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College Men's Basketball Coach Jim Walker completed his 24-day free throw shooting marathon to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer on Wednesday with a total of 20,137 free throws made after making 1,001 shots on the final day.
Walker started shooting free throws on Monday, Jan. 26 and has set aside an hour a day for the last 24 days to shoot free throws either during the day or twice at night after games. One day was even interrupted by a fire alarm in Johnston Hall. Each day, he has had a different Moravian men's basketball player, assistant coach or athletic staff member serve as his rebounders during the hour of shooting. Walker's goal was to make 20,000 free throws during the marathon, an average of 835 per day, and he was asking for a donation of $1 for every 1,000 made shots.
"I started during our week for Coaches vs. Cancer and the NABC, shooting an hour a day for 24 straight days with consecutive free throws as fast as I could shoot them," commented Walker. "My goal was to get to 20,000, and we achieved that today. I'm very satisfied today, and today I felt great shooting.
"The idea is that this is supposed to be hard especially since anyone who has dealt with cancer has dealt with a hard time," Walker continued. "I was trying to involve as many as people as possible with rebounders, feeders, publicity and at the school. My goal is to increase the awareness in conjunction with what the basketball coaches and the American Cancer Society do. I also have to count on not getting sick and not getting sore. I've also had to adjust shooting times each day depending on practice, games and the weather. It has definitely been a challenge."
Walker will be donating all of the money to the National Association of Basketball Coaches - Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. To make a donation of $20 for Walker's 20,137 made free throws, visit http://moraviansports.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/One_for_a_Thousand.pdf.
"I have to average 835 made shots each day to reach my goal of 20,000, and to get to that, I needed to take about 1,150 free throws each hour. That averages out to about one every three seconds," Walker explained. "I had days above and below that 835, and the reasons it fluctuated were concentration, feeling tired, how much time I had to warm up. But I never really worried about that because I knew over the course of time I would be able to make enough based on what I did last year making 16,022 in my first marathon. The secret to making this many shots are repeating the same motion over and over again. It is more the snap of the wrist that hurts after the hour each day than my shoulder or elbow."
Walker and Moravian have a history of success at the foul line. The Greyhounds led NCAA DIII in 2001-02 with a .795 FT% and set a Middle Atlantic Conference record yet to be broken. The Hounds made a Landmark-record 41 FT in one game in 2007, leading to a tie for the conference FT% record at .774. Moravian & Juniata College both set the record mark in 2007-08.
Coach Walker's daily chart from the marathon is available at http://moraviansports.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/walkerFT.
The 35th-year head coach acknowledged he could not have reached – and surpassed – his goal without a little help from his players and friends. Walker extended his thanks to the rebounders during the marathon, which included players Jack Aussenheimer, Matt Cardonne, Tom Cicalese, Izel Dickerson, Jarrod Dilts, Sean Hanna, Riley Hengler, Isaiah Jennings, Garrett Kashmer, Brandon McGuire, Khalil Rhett, Issac Roach, Bobby Zimmerman; assistant coaches B.J. Dugan, Nick Smull, Logan Stano, and Jeremy Walker and athletic department staff members Jon Baltz, Shelley Bauder, Dave Carty, Joe Cullen, Samantha Donlon, Amy Endler, Paul Engelhardt, Todd Ervin, Mariana Freitas, Kristi Kaneyuki, Kristen Schuster, Art Smith, Mary Beth Spirk, Sara Steinman, Ben Wilson and Jeff Ykoruk.
This is the second year for Walker's marathon, and he has made 36,159 free throws over the two campaigns. Last year, he raised over $3,300 for Coaches vs. Cancer but for Walker, it isn't about how much money can be raised, it is all about raising awareness.
"I've always been a big donor to the American Cancer Society every year sending in a contribution but I wanted to do more myself to help raise the awareness," stated Walker. "Last year, I said I needed to do something around free throw shooting which is something I like to do and have done well since I was a player in high school.
"My interest in generating more people's awareness of battle against cancer, and become givers to the America Cancer Society," Walker continued. I've felt for a long time that the more financial support we can generate through awareness, the better chance there is towards finding a cure for cancer. I lost my dad to cancer and my brother-in-law is really sick right now too. So those are things that prompted me to help raise awareness."