The winners were coached by Akron's mayor
The game is expected to raised about 8,500 for charity.
By KATIE LIBECCO
YOUNGSTOWN -- Area politicians, media personalities and sports figures defeated Youngstown State University fraternity Phi Kappa Tau in a battle on the court Saturday.
But it was all in good nature, part of the third annual Game of Hope charity basketball game.
The Game of Hope benefits Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang camps for terminally ill children and their families. Phi Kappa Tau also donates money from the event locally to Forum Health Tod Children's Hospital.
"The Game of Hope is about having fun and raising money," coordinator Tony Spano said at Saturday's match in YSU's Beeghly Center.
Spano, an advisor for Phi Kappa Tau and a YSU graduate, started coordinating the event in 2004. In its first year, it brought in about 4,000, last year revenue reached about 5,000. Spano said not all of the money for this year's game was collected yet, but he expects receipts to be about 8,500.
About three-fourths of the collections are from sponsors and private donations. Additional money is raised through a raffle, 50-50 raffle and center-court shot contest.
The game pits local celebrities against the fraternity. This year, the All-Star celebrity team won 59-45 over the Phi Kappa Tau team.
The All-Star community team included:
* Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112.
* Jim's son, Nick Graham, an assistant prosecutor in Warren.
* State Sen. John Boccierri of New Middletown, D-33rd.
* Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams.
* Cardinal Mooney football coach P.J. Fecko.
* Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally.
* Jim Kaster, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714 at Lordstown.
* Jeff Pegg, past president of Northeast Ohio Education Association.
* Ron Strollo, YSU athletic director.
* Jerry Mac, 95.9 KISS-FM on-air personality.
* Matt Hufnagel, former executive director of the Chevrolet Centre, downtown.
* Adam Tokash, general manager of the Mahoning Valley Thunder, Youngstown's arena football team, who played for the Phi Kappa Tau team.
The coach for the All-Star team was Akron Mayor and former Congressman Tom Sawyer. He was assisted by Herb Washington, owner of the SteelHounds, Youngstown's Central Hockey League team. Playing the role of team owner was YSU Trustee Scott Schulick. WKBN news anchor Robb Schmidt coached the Phi Kappa Tau team.
Nick Graham was the game's MVP and leading scorer with 21 points. Hufnagel was named MVP last year.
State Sen. Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, and her father, local mall magnate J.J. Cafaro, attended the game, as did Phil Kidd, creator of Defend Youngstown, a local movement promoting the city.
"We use community leaders because that's what it's about -- the community," Spano said.
In addition to the players, the Mahoning Valley Thunder Dance Team performed two dances at half time. Scrappy, mascot of the Mahoning Valley's minor league baseball team, and SteelHounds mascot Crusher also made appearances.
One PKT member said he participated in the game because it was a fun way to help the charities.
"It's one of the few opportunities I have to give back to the community," Evan Hubbard, 21, said.
Spano and Hubbard both said the game was a way to show Greek life in a positive light.
"It's a chance for everyone to see what Phi Kappa Tau is about. It's a chance to break the stereotype of a fraternity. We actually do a lot to help the community," Hubbard said.
Spano said 545 tickets were counted at the door, with tickets at 5 per person and free admission for YSU students. The YSU Athletic Department said about 375 people attended the game last year.
Spano said he plans to coordinate the event again next year.
Photo by Katie Libecco.
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