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NCAA News Features Coach Mary Smith & Kid's Best Friend Basketball Camp

December 10, 2003

December 10, 2003, Greencastle, Ind. - "There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Just ask Mary Smith, assistant women's basketball coach at DePauw University," begins a story in the NCAA News. Leilana McKindra writes of Smith, "it was an unsuccessful attempt to find homes for three stray dogs that she ended up keeping herself that finally drove her to act... Smith ultimately decided to combine two of her loves -- basketball and dogs -- and she established the Kid's Best Friend Basketball Camp."

The article notes that the camp celebrated its seventh year this past summer with 65 participants, who received valuable lessons in the sport from Smith, DePauw head women's basketball coach Kris Huffman, and members of the women's basketball team. "Weaved among the more traditional aspects of a basketball camp were presentations from a local veterinarian, a dog trainer and two police deputy K-9 handlers and their dogs," McKindra writes. "Each year, Smith secures sponsorships for the camp so that all proceeds from camp tuition directly fund a program in which local pet owners are eligible to receive $20 off the cost of getting their dog or cat spayed or neutered. Open to all residents in Putnam County, Indiana, where DePauw's host city of Greencastle is, the camp is the sole source of funds for the spay/neuter project," the writer points out.

Coach Smith tells NCAA News, "I recognized a need and thought about a way to help the stray situation while also giving local kids a good, affordable experience." Since its inception, about 700 dogs and cats have gone through the camp subsidized spay-neuter program. "Regardless of where people are on the pet spectrum, whether they love them, don't like them or are somewhere in between, the spay/neuter issue is a positive one," Smith said. "How many times do you find an issue that favors all sides?"

You can read the complete story, which includes several color photographs, by clicking here.

(photo of Mary Smith by Marilyn E. Culler)

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