IUPUI Athletics

INDIANAPOLIS -- IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter will be traipsing up and down the Jaguars' sidelines in his bare feet on Saturday when his squad plays host to South Dakota State in The Jungle as part of his continued partnership with Samaritan's Feet. This marks the fourth time since 2008 that Hunter will coach in his bare feet since initially partnering with the Charlotte-based non-profit in 2007.

"This is a cause that's very near and dear to my heart," Hunter said. "Every day, more than 300 million people wake up without the luxury of putting shoes on their feet and that absolutely breaks my heart. To have seen some of these situations up close, it's really impacted me and the guys on my team that have made the trips with us. If I'm able to continue to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet and help put shoes on kids' feet, then I'm going to do it."

Since partnering with Samaritan's Feet in 2007, Hunter has made trips to Peru, Costa Rica and South Africa to distribute shoes to needy children. In addition, he's taken part in numerous shoe distributions in the United States, including at the past two Final Fours in Detroit and Indianapolis. Current seniors John Ashworth and Leroy Nobles were part of the Peru trip and the entire team made the trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2009.

Since 2008, thousands of coaches across the country have followed Hunter's lead and coached games in their bare feet. South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy is among the many who have joined Hunter's initiative. Like Hunter, Nagy and his family have seen the poverty up close as they trekked to Haiti in 2005 to the birthplace of their 7-year-old adopted daughter, Naika.

Fans are encouraged to make a charitable donation through the Samaritan's Feet website and donations of new or slightly worn shoes will be accepted throughout Saturday's doubleheader. In addition, Hunter is requesting that students in attendance come in their bare feet to help raise awareness.

For more information, go to www.samaritansfeet.org.