Vanderbilt’s basketball coach says job allows her family, team to help others

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Vanderbilt women’s head basketball coach Stephanie White says her position gives not only her and family a chance to make a difference in the lives of others, but also her team.

White took the Vanderbilt head coaching job about 10 months ago, and said she wanted to become immediately ingrained in the community, and her team wanted to make more of a difference than just being a voice.

It wasn’t all about wins and losses this season for her team, it was also about service.

For every three point shot the team made this season, Papa John’s made a donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. At the end of the year, Coach White matched it, and the team was able to present a wish to a deserving child here in Middle Tennessee.

“You feel so good knowing that you can give somebody hope – that for a moment you can take the pain away and they can experience joy and their family can be away from the burden of all of the things going on in their lives. It was really emotional,” she said.

Photo: WKRN

Beth Torres is the CEO and president for our local chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“Make A Wish kids are special. They’re fighting life-threatening medical conditions, and because of that, they lose part of their childhood. They don’t get to go to school; they don’t get to go to basketball practice, or ballet, so part of what

Make-A-Wish does, is we give them their childhood back. Letting them have this wish, letting them do whatever they want to do empowers them at a time when they’re really sick, it’s the magic that really comes into their lives.”

It’s a cause that was easy for Coach White and her family to get behind.

“We have three young boys. Every day we can always take for granted the health of your child, and for us to realize that not everyone is so lucky and so fortunate, we want to be able to make a young child and a family’s wish come true,” she told News 2.

The Commodores continue their relationship with the organization.

On Saturday April 8, the team will join Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee participant Jessica Myer’s team; raising even more money in the Second Annual Walk for Wishes.

Coach White is hoping the community will come out and join her team.

“There’s just no greater feeling in the world than being around people who are like-minded. To be around people who are thankful, who are thoughtful, who are giving. I would just encourage people to come out and experience it. To meet the kids, to talk to the kids and the families, to get an opportunity to understand what they’re going through, and if they can find it in their hearts to be able to donate as well, that’s an added bonus,” she said.

All of the money raised during the Walk for Wishes stays right here in Middle Tennessee. If you want to join a team, donate, or just come and support the walk on April 8 visit middletennessee.wish.org.