Duke lacrosse coach raises money to feed essential workers

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the first time in his adult life, Duke lacrosse coach John Danowski is spending his spring somewhere other than a lacrosse field.

"There is a certain mourning period for young men who lose a season, but there are a lot of people in much tougher situations than our guys," he said. "There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves and just to move on and do the best we can."

Danowski has led the Blue Devils for the past 14 seasons and is also the head coach of the U.S. men's national team. He wanted to use his leadership skills to help during the novel coronavirus pandemic

"I think a lot of us who lived through different times -- when I moved to New York when the twin towers were struck, I felt helpless," Danowski said. "There was nothing besides maybe writing a check and donating money to a specific group, there was really nothing that I could do. I think the four of us felt that we could use the platform of the U.S. men's national team to raise some money and to do good in the community."

Danowski along with three other members of Team USA's staff created a GoFundMe account to raise money to provide meals for hospital staff members. They've raised nearly $20,000.

Enzo's Pizza in Durham is also helping Danowski's efforts. For every pizza bought with the money raised, Enzo's is matching it. Right now, they're up to 636 pizzas.

"We're used to being in leadership roles," Danowski said. "We just felt kind of helpless as we're sitting at home watching people really carry the load for the rest of us."

Besides raising money, Danowski said he is staying busy riding the peloton, having Zoom meetings with his team and arranging guest speakers. He said he has learned a lot during this time.

"We kid around, and we always use the term carpe diem, seize the day, and not knowing how appropriate that term is," he said. "We throw it around loosely, but you've got to live life every day to its fullest and whatever comes your way, you're going to have to handle it."
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