Friday, November 18, 2005
TUSCALOOSA – University of Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried will be among those featured in a special television show Saturday afternoon on ESPN2. ESPN Original Entertainment will present Operation Hardwood, a 60-minute special Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. CT. The program
will focus on a military basketball tournament this past August at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, featuring current and former college coaches, including Gottfried,
ESPN analysts/former coaches Jay Bilas and Mike Jarvis. The eight-team tournament consisted of 13 troops per team from camps throughout Kuwait.
The other guest coaches included Bobby Cremins (former Georgia Tech coach), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bobby Lutz (Charlotte), Dave Odom (South Carolina), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma), plus Bilas and Jarvis.
The special will be re-aired on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 24 at 9 p.m. and throughout December. In addition, ESPN will televise Operation Hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 6:30 p.m., immediately following the network's coverage of Alabama at Oklahoma (4:30 p.m.), a game that matches two of the coaches that participated in Operation Hardwood.
The documentary-style special will focus on the tremendous stories of the troops and how basketball becomes a welcomed diversion to many of them. It will also showcase behind-the-scenes footage of the troops from various camps, as well as tournament action, and it will document the major impact the trip had on the coaches, underscoring their desire to get involved initially. A crew from the network visited Tuscaloosa in August to film Gottfried at home one morning with his family as he cooked breakfast and helped get his five children ready for school.