FORT MYERS, Fla. – The start of the preseason means much more than just grueling hours of practice and training on the court for the FGCU men’s basketball team. On Tuesday morning at Pinewood Elementary School, the members of the 2010-11 squad finished off the 10th season of their eight-week “Eagle Reading” program.
Twice a week since Sept. 3, student-athletes and coaches from the men’s basketball team visited Three Oaks Elementary School and Pinewood Elementary School, taking part in a program in which they read to the students and focus on the importance of reading.
Also during their visits to the two schools, the FGCU student-athletes would update logs that kept track of each student’s reading at home. Students who completed the program were awarded with a certificate from FGCU and their teacher, while also getting to choose from other FGCU athletics prizes (Pencils, Notebooks, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts).
“The reading program, like all of our other community service opportunities, is a chance for us to give back to the area that supports us,” said head coach Dave Balza. “It’s also a great opportunity for our student-athletes to give back and learn more about core values. Coach Leo Miller does a terrific job helping organize these events and this fall has been a tremendous success.”
The reading program is just one of many ways that Balza and his program give back to the surrounding communities. The Eagles have also volunteered time at a Soup Kitchen on Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Fort Myers as well as the city’s Salvation Army on Palm Avenue. In all, the men’s basketball program has logged 245 hours of community service since returning in the fall.
FGCU will begin the ninth season in program history on Friday, Nov. 12 when it travels to Bloomington, Ind. to take on Indiana at historic Assembly Hall. Gametime is slated for 6:30 P.M. ET and the game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Fans in Southwest Florida can tune in to channel 610 through DirecTV or channel 742 on Comcast.