UB coach cofounds global COVID-19 relief campaign


Photo: UB Athletics

What started as a simple idea has now gone global.

University at Buffalo head football strength and conditioning coach, Matt Gildersleeve founded the “Coaches vs. COVID-19” campaign with the goal of helping those impacted during this pandemic.

“Following on social media has been so much fun. I’ve had messages from people in Ireland, Iceland, Australia, Spain and Portugal. People from across the world have even contacted my wife saying “hey I’m in Australia I’m listening to your husband speak right now”. It’s so cool,” Gildersleeve said.

The donations keep pouring in on the campaign’s GoFundMe page. Every hour different people contribute and exceed even Gildersleeve’s expectations.

“Our original goal was $30,000 so it’s so much bigger than I could have ever imagined but I know it’s something little but it seems to help and we’re trying to do our part,” Gildersleeve said.

All of the donations will benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) – COVID-19 Response Fund.

Gildersleeve partnered with Drake Berberet and Bennet Watson of Hawkin Dynamics to get the platform up and running with their software and set up the GoFundMe page. From there they got 28 companies involved and over 860 to donate.

“I think as humans it’s our responsibility. One of the biggest silver linings in all of this is to see people just come together and people willing to do whatever it takes to just protect each other and help finish this thing and fight this thing to the best of our ability,” Gildersleeve explained.

Part of the campaign also involves other people in the strength and conditioning industry to speak during webinars at different times throughout the week.

Their new goal is to reach six figures. As of Friday afternoon, the campaign has raised almost $60,000.

As for UB Football, Gildersleeve had to get creative when it came to putting together workout plans for the players.

“We took the 105 guys that we have and we wrote a program for each guy based on what they have at home whether that be a full weight room or whether that be duffel bags full of soup cans and laundry detergent and getting creative with what kind of stairs they have in their house,” Gildersleeve said.

The goal was to eliminate excuses and keep everyone on track.

“If it says bench press, I don’t have a bench press I guess I’m not going to do it. So instead we made adaptations and sent those out to give guys the best shot they have at staying in shape,” Gildersleeve explained.

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