October 9, 2008

Inaugural "Fiz's Drive" To Take Place Oct. 21 At Ross Sports Center

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College, in conjunction with the Burlington, Vt. Chapter of the American Red Cross and the College's MOVE office (Mobilization Of Volunteer Efforts), will host "Fiz's Drive" on Tues., Oct. 21 in memory of legendary Purple Knights' men's basketball standout Mark Fizulich '97. The inaugural blood drive in honor of Fizulich will be held from 12:30-5:30 p.m. at the Ross Sports Center.

Fizulich, a four-time Northeast-10 All-Conference selection inducted into the Saint Michael's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2005, and lost his battle with cancer on March 9. Throughout his 2 1/2-year fight with AML, Fizulich and his wife Kristin worked tirelessly to raise awareness about leukemia and other blood cancers, and were advocates for giving blood.

"Mark and Kristin understood the importance of blood donation, as Mark benefitted from the donations of others," said 12th-year men's basketball head coach Tom O'Shea, who served as an assistant coach during Fizulich's four-year career. "I am proud that Saint Michael's is honoring such a remarkable man in this way."

"As a friend or teammate of "Fiz", you were never shortchanged. He always gave you what he had with his own unique style and personality," said Mark Mulvey '97, a teammate of Fizulich's for four years and, like Fizulich, a member of the Saint Michael's Athletics Hall of Fame. "He had a special effort and energy in the way that he lived his life. Those people and places that he touched are better for having had Fiz as part of their life."

"Mark was the best teammate - and friend - that I have ever had," said Brian Pannuzzo '99, a 1,000-point scorer for the Purple Knights who played two years with Fizulich at Saint Michael's, and two years with Fizulich at Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey. "The commitment Saint Michael's is making to honor Mark through annual blood and bone marrow drives is amazing, as raising awareness to these issues was going to be a big focus for Mark in the future."

The Saint Michael's men's basketball team will be volunteering at Fiz's Drive, which will take place in the Ross Gym (east court), with registration in the Ross lobby.

In addition, Saint Michael's will sponsor a bone marrow drive in Fizulich's honor on Sat., Nov. 15, as the Saint Michael's men's basketball team opens its season by hosting the DoubleTree Doc Jacobs Classic at the Ross Sports Center. The tournament begins at 4 p.m. with Middlebury College taking on Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, followed by a 6 p.m. in-state matchup between Saint Michael's and Norwich University. Fizulich's uniform #50 will become the seventh number retired in the history of the Saint Michael's men's basketball program during the tournament.

To sign up for a time to donate blood at Fiz's Drive, contact the MOVE office at 802.654.2674 or send an email to move@smcvt.edu. For more information on Fiz's Drive, visit http://www.smcathletics.com/fiz.