Donlon takes Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of brother-in-law

WSU coach Billy Donlon catches a bucket full of ice water from all 17 members of his team last week.


Wright State head men’s basketball coach Billy Donlon and his team gathered outside of Setzer Pavilion last week to take part in the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Disease) Ice Bucket Challenge.

It honor his brother-in-law, Jerry Vogler, who is battling ALS.

“He’s fighting. Jerry is a fighter. He has been an incredibly successfully person,” Donlon said. “Jerry and my sister have a beautiful daughter Mary. He’s an incredible father; he’s been a great brother. He’s been a great son to my parents, a great brother to my sister and I, and he’s just an outstanding husband.”

For the past month, anyone that has logged onto any social media outlet has witnessed friends, family and even celebrities all take part in what is known as the Ice Bucket Challenge. The phenomenon started as an attempt to help raise money and awareness for the debilitating disease ALS.

Those who take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge are asked to pass on the challenge to family members and friends as well as to make a donation to the ALS Association.

The Ice Bucket Challenge frenzy, taking the social media landscape by storm, has raised over $94 million since July 29 according to the ALS Association, 34 times more than it raised at the same time last year.

Although the challenge in itself has been a great way to help raise money for the foundation, it has also given an opportunity for people to pay tribute to those who are battling this horrific disease.

For a disease that has yet to find a cure, Donlon praises this social media attempt to help raise money and awareness for this disease that has had a close impact on him and his family.

“We haven’t made great strides. And the way you make great strides, and the way we made great strides in cancer, is through financial commitments, and that’s what this (ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) has done,“ Donlon said. “Like a lot of things, you have a much greater perspective when it touches home, and for my family it really hits home because of Jerry’s battle.”

Not only was this challenge an opportunity for Donlon to pay tribute to his brother-in-law, but it was a chance for his team to be involved as well. Senior guard Kendall Griffin and some of the other upperclassmen have been able to witness Vogler fight.

“To be able to be a part of it as a team was real special,” Griffin said. “Obviously a bunch of the new guys didn’t know Jerry personally but for me and some of the older guys, it was really cool to take part in that with coach Donlon and coach (Bill) Donlon Sr.”

Billy Donlon took a different approach to how the team conducted the Ice Bucket Challenge. Rather than challenge the team as a whole to get ice water poured over their heads, Donlon gave all 17 of his players the opportunity to dump a bucket on him.

“You will never see him (Donlon) half ass anything,” Griffin said. “It didn’t really surprise me that he was going to go all out with this, especially since it effects him so personally.”

Donlon extended the challenge to every Wright State coach, including assistant coaches and former Wright State head basketball coach Brad Brownell who is the head coach at Clemson University.

“I’m just a believer in good causes,” Donlon said. “We all are (at) Wright State. That’s part of our mission statement at the university. To help people in any way possible.”

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