PHOENIX – Would you play a round of golf with Roy Williams at Pinehurst? How about a foursome involving Ken Griffey Jr. at a Michael Jordan-owned course in Florida? Does hitting chip shots with Bobby Hurley or Sean Miller appeal to you?
That’s the hope of Eric Sedransk, who was moved to find a way to help those impacted by COVID-19. That includes the American Cancer Society, which has struggled to raise money during the pandemic and was forced to lay off 1,000 staff members and cut its budget by 30 percent in June.
On Wednesday morning, the Member for a Day Coaches vs. Cancer Auction went live. Winners will have the chance to play a round of golf with one of over 100 Division I men’s basketball coaches and other celebrities at premier courses around the country. Early in the auction, North Carolina coach Williams already had a bid of $7,700.
Finding ways to raise money during a pandemic is no easy task, but for Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger it was a no-brainer.
“We’re all on board, everyone we’ve talked to,” said Kruger, whose son, Kevin, played at Arizona State. “They’ve been all on board. We’ve got over 100 coaches and celebrities who have volunteered their day to be auctioned off. It’s a great cause. It’s a pretty easy sell to the coaches to do something to raise funds to fight cancer.”
If you would have told Sedransk a year ago he would be in charge of a charity organization and speaking to some of college basketball’s elite coaches, he would have laughed you off.
For Sedransk, the founder of Member for a Day, this is exactly what his day-to-day life entails as he spearheads an effort to raise funds for some of the largest charities in the United States. He felt an urge to help others struggling with the new realities facing them during the pandemic.
“I just hopped in the car and drove down South. My family has a place down in South Carolina,” Sedransk said. “I quarantined down here. Life felt more like a vacation than it did a sacrifice in the midst of the pandemic. I was playing golf and going to the beach and doing normal things. I say that because in reality, I just started to feel really guilty.”
During his time in South Carolina, Sedransk thought about how best he could assist others during the pandemic.
Golf was his answer.
“I wanted to do something positive in a way to give back. It led me down this path of trying to figure out a way to be creative, and to give back to those less fortunate,” Sedransk said. “I’ve been fortunate to have played some really great golf courses and have met some folks, either members or professionals at some really exclusive private golf courses. I just decided to reach out to them and ask them if they’d be willing to donate a round of golf that would be auctioned off to feed hospital, front-line workers in New York City.”
Member for a Day allows the chance to play at some of the country’s best and most-revered golf courses with all of the money raised going toward charity initiatives. Since the start of this whole process, Sedransk has raised over $215,000 for six charity groups.
Sedransk’s latest endeavor is with the 17th largest charity in the United States, the American Cancer Society, which partnered with Coaches vs. Cancer and MGM Resorts for a celebrity auction benefiting the ACS.
According to the American Cancer Society, the COVID-19 outbreak has placed a major hurdle in the charity’s efforts to assist cancer patients and their families. In a press release issued in June, the ACS said it had seen a significant drop in their fundraising efforts.
Kruger will be taking part in two events to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Well-known coaches and celebrities involved with this initiative include Williams, Griffey Jr., Jim Boeheim, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery. Locally, both Arizona’s Miller and Arizona State’s Hurley will take part in a round of golf
The Coaches vs. Cancer auction is set to run through Nov. 27. Those interested in placing a bid on one of the experiences offered by the charity can click on this link.
Sedransk believes the future looks bright for his charity initiative and believes the program will continue in the years to come.
“We have a lot of interest from a variety of nonprofits,” Sedransk said. “This is continuing to grow. We’re going to be able to raise millions and millions of dollars for wonderful nonprofits through the game of golf.”