SBJ/November 19-25, 2012/Colleges

Paintings to capture winning March Madness memories

The NCAA’s 75th anniversary celebration will include a first March Madness art collection that features tournament champions and their coaches.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches has commissioned renowned sports artist Opie Otterstad to create 74 paintings representing the coaches of the first 74 NCAA tournament champions. The 75th will be painted after the 2013 Final Four is decided in April.

Artist Opie Otterstad will produce paintings of NCAA tournament champions and coaches, such as UNC’s Dean Smith.
The pieces of art will be unveiled throughout the college basketball season and sold as originals and limited-edition reproductions as a fundraiser for the NABC’s foundation.

“We’ll go to each of the campuses for the unveiling,” said Rick Jones, whose South Carolina-based Fishbait Marketing represents the NABC and is managing the program. “Because in many cases we’ll be bringing back the winning coaches or members of their family, it will be a special night at these unveilings.”

“These are the greatest coaches and teachers in the history of college basketball,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball. “This is a great way to honor these coaches and their place in the tradition of March Madness.”

The first unveiling will be Nov. 29 at Connecticut, where three separate paintings of Jim Calhoun’s three national titles will be displayed. The tour will continue to campuses around the nation where the basketball team has won a national title since the tournament started in 1939.

There are 35 schools that have won it all, represented by 47 coaches. Of those 47 coaches, 23 are deceased. Many of the 24 remaining coaches are still active, so in some cases they might be represented by family members at the unveiling.

Fishbait is working with the TV networks that will broadcast these games so that there’s a mention of the unveiling and the auction on air. The schools also will promote the auctions on their websites.

The day after the unveiling, the original artwork will go to auction at NCAA.com/art with an opening bid of $6,000. The auctions will last about 10 days and will be managed by CBSSports.com. Limited-edition reproductions will go to auction a week after the unveiling with an opening bid of $475. A coffee-table book containing each of the pieces will go on sale later next year for $15 and will be published by MomentumMedia.

The NCAA also will incorporate the art into Bracket Town, its fan fest at the Final Four in Atlanta, as part of its 75th anniversary celebration.

“This collection will be a unique reminder of these coaches’ accomplishments,” said Jim Haney, executive director of the NABC.

Fishbait licensed the NCAA’s special 75th anniversary marks, as well as the marks of the schools, from Collegiate Licensing Co., an IMG College company. The marks will be used in the promotion of the program.

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