In the O’rena, banners show off conference championships, postseason tournament appearances and other highlights from seasons gone by.
Many former Golden Grizzlies have gone on to play professionally, scoring baskets overseas and even in the NBA. Kampe helped start the careers of coaches across the country as well, with many former Oakland assistant coaches going on to take top coaching positions at other colleges.
Despite all these accolades and feats, Kampe is about to undertake a new challenge.
In collaboration with the program “Coaches vs. Cancer,” Kampe is beginning a 30-day fast, refusing all solid foods during that span and turning to raw vegetable juice. The five-time Summit League Coach of the Year is encouraging donations of at least one dollar for every day he can stick to the radical diet.
“Coaches vs. Cancer” is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Associaton of Basketball Coaches. The parties are dedicated to finding ways for teams at every level to help in the fight against the disease. All money raised through Kampe’s efforts will be dedicated to raising cancer awareness.
“I’ve had a couple very close friends diagnosed with cancer the past few months, and it really brings your mind to life and what’s going on,” Kampe said. “This is my way of trying to do something, and hopefully it is going to make me live different when I am done with it.”
The long-time Oakland coach appeared on WDIV-4 July 31 just outside the O’Rena to promote his choice to participate in the challenge.
Kampe purchased a juicer and will use spinach, kale, carrots, celery and other vegetables as the only options for his palate during the month long period.
He was inspired by a documentary sent to him by Michigan State women’s basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant, titled “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”
In the film, a man suffering from obesity lost nearly 100 pounds by developing the juice diet.
According to its official website, the film “defies the traditional documentary format to present the unconventional and uplifting story of two men who realize that the only person who can save them is themselves.”
A longtime fan of snack foods and Diet Dr. Pepper, Kampe said he is embracing the daunting task for a good cause.
“The only person who’s going to be mad at me is the Governor’s office in Michigan,” Kampe said. “The state is the national leader in the consumption of potato chips and without me, they may fall into second place.”
A longtime holdout from social media, the 2012 Hall of Honor inductee has joined Twitter (@KampeOU) so he can keep his followers updated on his progress.
Kampe began his diet on Aug. 7.
Donations can be made online at www.ougrizzlies.com/ot/kampe-challenge.html in the form of either a pledge per day or a one-time gift.
Senior Reporter Timothy Pontzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timothy_pontzer