Troops ‘N Hoops a slam dunk with RMU community


Kyle Gorcey

Members of the RMU faculty team await to be introduced prior to the Troops ‘N Hoops charity basketball game Tuesday night.

Nick Buzzelli , Editor-in-Chief

John McCarthy has a connection with the game of basketball.

The Robert Morris University Associate Professor of History played in high school, was a part of Bethany College’s program for two years in the mid-1990s and taught NBA All-Star Dwayne Wade “everything he knows” about Greek history while completing his doctorate at Marquette.

So when McCarthy was made aware of an RMU faculty vs. military charity basketball game to benefit Operation Troop Appreciation, he knew he had to get involved.

“I heard about it second hand [from the athletic department] and I lobbied to be on the team,” said McCarthy, who was one of two lecturers that participated in the game. “It’s Veteran’s Day so it’s a lot of fun to hold an event to raise money. … I love these kind of things.”

The idea behind Troops ‘N Hoops came to fruition as a result of Ann Jabro’s Communication Seminar course in which students are required to executive an event aiding a non-profit charity.

Since Whitney Snyder’s employer, CBS Radio Pittsburgh, has a partnership with OTA, which provides support for military members and their families, she and fellow seniors Sarah Marchese, Sydney Pass and Tyler Potts decided that a basketball game funding the organization was the best way to connect the armed forces with Robert Morris on Nov. 11.

“We threw around a lot of different ideas and this is one that kind of stuck and we all liked it so we just kind of rolled with it,” Snyder said. “We wanted to get as much of the campus pool as we could. … We felt like everyone had that personal feeling or sentiment toward anyone active in the military, or veterans for that matter, so we really wanted to tap into as many people as we could to pull them out.”

After securing the location and time for the contest, Stars & Stripes Communication had to find personnel to fill both rosters.

And they knew exactly who they wanted to get.

“We really wanted to focus on Andy Toole,” said Snyder. “He obviously has a very successful program with the basketball team, so we wanted staple people on campus to get involved.”

Rounding out the faculty lineup, among others, was strength and conditioning coach Todd Hammer, defensive coordinator Scott Farison, Phillip Harold, co-director of the honors program and RMU president Gregory Dell’Omo, who served as head coach.

Behind the helm for the troops team was John Banaszak, a former Marine and current RMU football head coach, while 10 current members of the armed forces made up his unit.

Despite the fact that the military fell to the university employees, 69-60, Marchese was pleased that the affair accomplished its main objective.

“I think we were in a good position,” she said. “The whole goal was to just raise money and I’m happy we could do that.”