GREENSBORO SPORTS DINNER RENAMED IN MEMORY OF LATE ACC ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER FRED BARAKAT; ESPN Analyst Dick Vitale Honored at First Renamed Event
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The annual Greensboro Sports Dinner, presented by the
Greensboro Sports Council, has been renamed the Fred Barakat Sports Dinner
in memory of Fred Barakat, the late associate commissioner of the Atlantic
Coast Conference, it was announced Sunday in an on-court tribute to Barakat
during the 2011 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The event is held annually on the Greensboro Coliseum arena floor; this
year’s event is set for April 21, 2011.
A close friend of Barakat’s, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale
will be the honored guest at the first newly-renamed event. Vitale joined
ESPN during the 1979-80 college basketball season following the network’s
launch in September of 1979 after a successful college and professional
coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he
was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of
Fame (after being named a finalist in 2004, ’06 and ’07) as a contributor.
“Fred was truly a loyal friend and an avid lover of college hoops,” Vitale
said. “He was an ambassador for the ACC. Most of all, he was a dedicated
husband and father. He was a man of integrity, and his word was golden. I
will always miss him.”
Barakat joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1981 as the supervisor of
men’s basketball officials. He was later named assistant commissioner and
was then promoted to associate commissioner, director of men’s basketball.
For 16 years he served as the ACC tournament director along with his other
basketball responsibilities that included scheduling, managing the league’s
television partners and officiating.
“I think it’s a wonderful honor, and Fred would be very proud,” Barakat’s
widow Florence Barakat said. “This dinner being renamed in Fred’s memory is
really a double honor. Fred and Dick were so close, and he would be so
pleased that Dick is speaking this year in his honor. But because it will
be the Fred Barakat dinner every year, hopefully more people will come to
speak in the future because of Fred. He had some wonderful relationships
with so many people, and I know Fred would be honored to have his name on
“We did this because Fred was such a special friend of Greensboro, the
Greensboro Sports Council and the ACC,” Greensboro Sports Council president
Donald Moore said. “Fred was instrumental in helping us line up speakers in
the first couple of years of this event so it’s very appropriate with his
help in getting this event started before his untimely passing. Renaming
this event in Fred’s memory is small thank you for all he did for
Greensboro, the coliseum, the Sports Council and the Atlantic Coast
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner will continue to highlight significant
figures in or related to the Atlantic Coast Conference or one of its sports.
Former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan was the event’s first guest in 2008.
ESPN college basketball analyst and Duke alumnus Jay Bilas was the guest in
2009 while CBS Sports college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg was last
Founded in 1959, the Greensboro Sports Council is a support group for the
Greensboro Coliseum Complex providing hospitality, resources and community
support for events held in the Coliseum Complex. In recent years, the
Sports Council has expanded its traditional role to support sports events in
Greensboro and Guilford County such as the Wyndham Championship PGA TOUR
event, the ACC Women’s Golf Tournament at Sedgefield Country Club, the ACC
Baseball Tournament when applicable and any NCAA Championships hosted in the
The Council also hosts the Pizza Hut Invitational presented by NewBridge
Bank high school basketball tournament. This annual event donates its
proceeds to charity and the participating schools each year.
The Fred Barakat Sports Dinner is the Sports Council’s only major
fundraising event; proceeds from the dinner help offset expenses associated
with hosting the many events supported by the Sports Council each year. The
Fred Barakat Sports Dinner is open to the general public; individual
tickets, $75, and tables of 10, $750, are available for purchase through the
Greensboro Sports Commission at (336) 378-4499.