Gus Macker announced its donation of $50,000 over five years to the CMU Events Center at a Thursday news conference.
This year’s Gus Macker tournament will take place April 27-28 in Mount Pleasant and will be one of the 41 events spanning the United States in 2013.
The tournament is a 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament that started in 1974 by Scott McNeal, otherwise known as Gus Macker.
“There’s an opportunity for anybody to play,” McNeal said. “A guy like me who wasn’t a basketball player can play in our event and we match you according to your stats, so you play other guys that aren’t very good if you’re not very good.”
The Mount Pleasant tournament is unique because the students in Tim Otteman and Lori Irwin’s “Organization in Administration of Basketball Festivals” class organize the entire tournament.
“We walk them through the academic component of not only the basketball side but, as you heard, the special events side,” Otteman said. “We train those students and then we literally release them. We say, ‘OK, you’ve passed the class in terms of taking the exams and taking the assignments, but your final exam is running the event.”
The students do everything from running opening ceremonies, to planning events like the dunk contest, the three-point competition and the wheelchair basketball exhibition.
During the tournament, the students will still be in charge, working to run the courts, the brackets and the awards among other duties.
The 5-foot 5-inch Porter Maberry won last year’s Gus Macker dunk contest in Mount Pleasant and became an Internet sensation. The video of his dunk ended up on a Samsung commercial with Lebron James and has more than a million views.
Gus Macker tournaments around the country have donated more than $16 million back to charity in over 1,250 tournaments.
The money donated to the Events Center in the past went toward naming a gymnasium after former CMU student-athlete and CMU Hall of Fame head basketball coach, Dick Parfitt.
“I had his class in 1977 and he was very motivational to me at that point,” McNeal said. “To be able to come back and help him out and raise money to name part of this facility after him is really a major reason of why we do this.”
Parfitt said he was honored to be connected with the Gus Macker tournament.
“My family’s very proud to have the Parfitt name connected with the gym,” Parfitt said. “Scott McNeal and his crew is so enthused, it just makes everybody around him enthused.”
Parfitt won three MAC titles between 1971 and 1985 and won 192 games, which is the second-highest in CMU basketball history. Parfitt also has victories over coaches Dick Vitale and Jud Heathcote.
McNeal said he had no idea the tournament would be as successful as it is today when he started it in his parents driveway in Lowell.
“When we did this thing in our driveway for fun 40 years ago, we didn’t even know if we were going to do it the next year,” McNeal said. “We just kind of played for money back then.”
The online registration for the Gus Macker tournament can be completed on macker.com through April 15 for a team fee of $132.