Coaches for Charity gives back to athletes

By JAIME HERNANDEZ

Pima Community College Athletic Director Edgar Soto wears many hats throughout his work day, including assisting with a local charity that gives back to injured student athletes.

The group, Coaches for Charity, had a very different mission when originally founded in 2009. Their first goal was to raise money to help with funding the new children’s wing at University of Arizona Medical Center.

The charity group started off by holding a golf tournament that paired participants with a coach in the Tucson area.

The foundation then grew to sponsor other events, such as the Kick Off Classic held in the fall, and most recently, the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic, which was held at McKale Center on Jan. 18.

The MLK Classic is a high school basketball tournament that links some of the best teams from all over Southern Arizona.

Coaches for Charity’s current mission is to assist student athletes who have suffered a catastrophic injury while playing in high school pay for their college education.

Soto sits on the board of the foundation.

As a former coach and current employee at Pima, Soto can identify with the financial hardships that student athletes may endure while pursuing an education.

“At the high school level, you might have a student athlete that gets injured or something happens and they might have had the talent to participate in college athletics but now can’t,” Soto said. “This is for them.”

Soto also said that the more Pima gets involved in the community, the better it is for the school.

Ed Ackerley, a former marketing instructor at Pima and president of the charity, shares Soto’s perspective when it comes to the purpose of their group.

“We’re just trying to help kids that would’ve gone to college on an athletic scholarship but for some reason can no longer do that,” Ackerley said. “We step in and help them.”

Soto and Ackerley are working together with the Pima College Foundation to help fund the event. Awards handed out through the Pima Foundation include two-year scholarships for students to attend PCC.

Pg15-MLK Classic

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