In all of the years that Todd Whitting has lived in Houston, he’s never seen flooding quite like this. No one has.
The Houston head coach is spending his Tuesday helping his Bellaire neighbors salvage their belongings in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. His Cougars players are all safe and accounted for, split into groups and monitored by coaches. But the community at large is reeling.
“It’s rough down here,” Whitting said. “People here are devastated—houses up to the roof in water.”
Inspired by a similar post by Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, Whitting took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to ask for help.
“Our head men’s basketball coach here at the University of Houston and my good friend has started a wonderful initiative in regards to helping those in desperate need as a result of the flooding in Houston,” Whitting said in the tweet.
— Todd Whitting (@toddwhitting) August 29, 2017
“I would like to join in and ask all of our friends in baseball—across the nation and at all levels—to help. If possible, please send 20 of your program’s shirts and 10 pairs of shoes.”
Baseball America is joining in that initiative and will be sending BA gear to Houston. For any teams or individuals who also wish to help, the address to send the clothing to is:
Todd Whitting UH Baseball Office 3204 Cullen Blvd Houston, TX 77204
In the short time following his tweet, Whitting said he’s already heard from baseball coaches at all levels from around the country. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin retweeted Whitting’s original tweet and said, “We gotcha partner…we are on it…”
With many families displaced and in need of food and clothing, Whitting said he believes personalized gear from programs around the country could brighten the days of many.
The Cougars will personally deliver the items to those in need.
“I thought Coach Sampson had a tremendous idea,” Whitting said. “These people lost everything. To receive gear is going to be special.”
Elsewhere, other coaches and players in the area are trying to pick up the pieces. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Scott Malone is getting his house in order after boarding it up for the third time in his 11 years as coach. Malone, his family and neighbors evacuated to Austin, where Malone’s sister lives, and returned Monday—fortunately to a neighborhood that is still intact. “I just mowed my yard,” Malone said Tuesday. “If I’m out here mowing my yard, I’m doing great.” Malone knows he’s one of the lucky ones, and seeing the damage some of his peers have had to contend with has been “eye-opening,” Malone said. The head coach reached out to Whitting, the Rice program and Houston Baptist coach Jared Moon on Twitter to see how they were faring. Moon replied with a picture of his wife and daughter evacuating their home on a boat. “Evacuated today,” Moon said in the tweet. “Wife and daughter took a boat ride…. All safe now. That’s all that matters. Thanks.”
— Scott Malone (@CorpusBaseball) August 29, 2017
Malone himself has a handful of Houston-based players on his roster, and he said many of them are still trying to sort through the damage. Islanders outfielder Nick Anderson has been volunteering at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, which is operating as a temporary staging area. Malone said Islanders righthander Dustin Lacase, the team’s Friday starter, has been running a boat in his hometown, pulling survivors off of roofs. “Headed out on a boat to Danbury!” Lacase tweeted Tuesday morning. “If anybody knows anybody that needs to be helped PLEASE do not hesitate to call me!!”