Nashville plans for NCAA Women’s Final Four

Nashville plans for NCAA Women's Final Four (Image 1)

The countdown to the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four has begun.

On Tuesday local, regional and national dignitaries gathered at Vanderbilt University Student Life Center to outline plans for the national event, just 75 days before tip off.

Nashville is the host city for the championship games scheduled April 6 and 8 at Bridgestone Arena, the first time a Tennessee city has hosted the games since 1990. 

Mayor Karl Dean called this opportunity a “big deal” because the city will welcome 30,000 visitors during the games and stands to make $20 million in revenue.

Several events are planned beginning Friday April 4 and leading up to national championship game on Tuesday April 8.

“The Women's Final Four offers numerous fan interactive opportunities whether or not you have a game ticket,” NCAA Vice President of Women's Basketball Championships Anucha Browne said in a news release.

Basketball fans can enjoy pep rallies, autograph sessions, youth clinics, and other activities over the course of four days.

Coca Cola will sponsor a Broadway Bounce, where thousands of kids will dribble basketballs through downtown Nashville.

Most fans will flock to the Music City Center to visit “Tourney Town,” an expo event featuring interactive games, exhibits and concerts.

Tuesday's presentation was not only to rally support for the upcoming games and events but also a call to action for the NCAA Community Outreach 101 program.

The program, which encourages and teaches youth social responsibility through service and volunteering, debuted in November. Students from Lead Academy were among the first to take part by sorting food products at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee before Thanksgiving.

“Our mission each year is to leave a lasting legacy in the host city for the Women's Final Four,” Browne said.

This year, the goal of the NCAA Community Outreach 101 is to get more than 2,000 children in Nashville to participate in service projects before the Women's Final Four in April.

The Final Four games have already made an impact locally.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center was awarded a $100,000 grant to fund ovarian cancer research.

A ceremonial check was presented to the center's Dr. Dineo Khabele and Dr. Lawrence Marnett on Tuesday.

The grant is an annual award from the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a fund started by former North Carolina State University Women's Basketball Coach Kay Vow who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009.

“It is fitting to present a research grant to Dr. Khabele and Marnett and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in the host city of the 2014 Women's Final Four. This research grant will continue the legacy of Coach Yow and the Fund's mission of supporting women's cancer research,” said Nora Lynn Finch, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Senior Associate Commissioner and President of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund will also have a presence in the days before final game play.

Northwestern Mutual will present a 4Kay Run to benefit the fund on Saturday April 5.

The NCAA Women's Final Four will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2. Last year, 11 million people in 193 countries watched the games.

Tickets are still available.

For a complete event schedule, click here.

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