SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A popular Central Coast sports tradition is all set to return to Santa Maria. On Saturday, August 16th, the 13th annual Joe White Memorial Dinner and Auction will be held at the Santa Maria Faipark. The yearly event is the single biggest fundraiser for the Allan Hancock College athletic department.
"It's without words to describe what it means," said Kim Ensing, Athletic Director at Hancock College. "I mean our student-athletes don't have a safe place, productive place to compete without the Joe White event."
Created in 2002 as a fundraiser to name the school's gymnasium after the late Joe White, who served as the school's longtime basketball coach and athletic director, the event has been a huge success. "As a result of that, we made about $75,000 that year and within a couple of years, we raised about $165,000 and we were able to assist with a new floor in the gym, new bleachers, new lights, new painting, since that time we've been able to put in a complete sound system, we've put in scoreboards," said Jim Glines, founder of the Joe White Committee.
Glines originally believed the dinner and auction would last only a couple of years, but due to its immense success, it's been going strong for 13 years. "We have raised and given almost $600,000 to Hancock for athletic improvements and they show," said Glines.
Besides the complete refurbishment of Joe White Memorial Gymnasium, money raised through the dinner also helped name John Osborne Field, which serves as the school's baseball stadium. Other improvements paid with funds generated by the dinner include batting cages for the softball field, as well as scoreboards for softball and soccer.
Ensing is grateful the dinner has been so successful throughout the years. "It's provided so many resources. It's a great demonstration of what a team looks like. So along with the community support, Joe White event, the bond that was passed, the facilities have become a great environment for our coaches, for out student-athletes and our community," said Ensing.
Glines says the committee is hoping to bring in between $50,000 to $55,000 this year. According to Ensing, there are no immediate plans to spend the money in the near future. Instead, a list of goals will be made, which will be addressed in the future. Something Ensign and Glines would both like to see is a permanent stadium built on campus where the new football practice field now sits. "A seating facility to accommodate hosting football games, soccer games and track meets, that would be very high on our list of priorities," said Ensing.
This year's dinner and auction will include a vast array of highly coveted sports memorabilia, trips, catered dinners and other items. Some of those include: a basketball signed by the 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers, a V.I.P experience to a Los Angeles Dodgers game, tickets to watch the San Francisco 49ers host the Kansas City Chiefs in new Levi's Stadium, a Joe Montana autographed football, a five-day getaway to the Montana Sporting Club, a chance to train with Central Coast track legend Jordan Hasay at the college's new track and field facility, a dinner for 10 at Trattoria Uliveto in Orcutt, a Cajun dinner for 10, a surf and turf dinner for 20, wine tasting, golf packages and much more.
The Joe White Dinner and Auction will be held Saturday, August 16th. Doors open at 5 p.m. for a social hour and silent auction. A New York strip dinner prepared will be served at 7:07 p.m., with the live auction to follow.
Tickets are still available. For more information, call Jada Clark at (805) 720-7493 or visit athletics.hancockcollege.edu.