Memorial basketball tournament honors the life of fallen Deputy Matthew Yates

Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Yates gave his life to protect the citizens of Clark County.

Now, his wife Tracy has created a basketball tournament in his memory for people to contribute toward the education of future law enforcement officers.

“Matt loved the game of basketball,” says Tracy, sharing about her husband who was killed in the line of duty on July 24, 2022. “Any time he could pick up a basketball, he would.”

Tracy, who is the director of workforce and business solutions for Clark State College, says that shortly after Matt died, many people reached out and wanted to make donations, so the college created a scholarship in his name. The upcoming basketball tournament will support that scholarship.

“The main goal is to support the program at Clark State because we need more officers,” Tracy says. “And this let’s someone go through the academy who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

When trying to decide what kind of event she wanted to create to support the scholarship fund, Tracy says the basketball tournament was the first thing that came to her.

“Matt and I always played in the Suzanne Hopper Memorial Volleyball Tournament, so this seemed like the right fit because of how much he loved basketball,” she says. Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Hopper started that tournament, which raised money for the Special Olympics of Clark County, in 2008, and it was renamed in her honor in 2011 after she was killed in the line of duty earlier that year.

The Matthew Yates Memorial Basketball Tournament will be on Saturday, April 22, at Tecumseh High School, 9830 W. National Road, New Carlisle. The event will start at noon and – while team registration is full – the public is invited to come watch and cheer on their favorites.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Matthew Yates Memorial Scholarship fund at Clark State.

Twenty teams are registered to play in the tournament, with a waiting list of others, Yates says. Eight games will be played consecutively once the event begins.

In addition to the games, a limited number of tournament T-shirts will be sold for $20 each at the event, and a concession stand will be open for players and attendees. There also will be a prize raffle.

Raffle prizes are still being collected. If families or businesses would like to contribute to the raffle, please reach out to Tracy or Amanda Loney at [email protected].

Basketball, Tracy says, was something Matt loved on its own but also was a special bonding experience between him and their daughter AK, 13. AK and Tracy’s older sons – Anthony and Andrew – all are excited about the event and look forward to it all coming together.

Tracy also expressed her appreciation for the support she’s received from other deputies and their wives in helping get all the details for the event ready to go.

“The whole community – it’s amazing the things they’ve done as far as checking in on us or dropping things off to support us or fundraisers,” Tracy says. “For me, I wanted to give back somehow, and I know the need for officers is big right now. The scholarship was already created in his name, so what better way for me to support it than with this event.”

Tracy described Matt as someone who had “never met a stranger,” and who always had a big smile on his face, ready to shake each person’s hand and ask his custom, “You good?” to check in on them. She says the basketball tournament is something she’s sure he’d support and appreciate.

“Matt was always giving back to the community, and he’d be proud of this,” she says.

For more information about the tournament, join the Remembering Matt Yates Facebook group.
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