June 2 2014 12:00 AM

‘Coach for a Day’ auctions time with MSU football coach to benefit homeless shelter

Michigan State University.

MONDAY, June 2 — How much would you pay to swap places with Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio?

As a benefit for East Lansing’s Haven House, the Greater Lansing area’s only family homeless shelter, people can bid on the opportunity to spend an entire day with Dantonio and the MSU football team. Bidding ends June 28, with all proceeds going directly to Haven House. As of this afternoon, the winning bid is at $500.

“You can meet your heroes up close and be included in the business of the team,” said Haven House Development Director Gabriel Biber. “It’s a very cool experience.”

The winner will spend the day beside Dantonio as he leads team meetings. He/she will also have lunch with the coaches and players and attend practice.

This is the second time Haven House will auction off a “Coach for a Day” experience. A long-time Haven House supporter with ties to Michigan State University’s athletic department, who wishes to remain anonymous, started the auction eight years ago.

Biber said he is hoping to generate more interest this year, considering the team is on the heels of a Rose Bowl victory. The auction winner will be announced after Haven House’s Metros Open fundraiser, which kicks off on June 28, once the “Coach for a Day” bidding ends.

Biber said fundraisers like these are especially important to combat the ongoing challenges of serving families on fewer state dollars.

“We already serve about 150 families a year, but we turn away several hundred more because we don’t have space,” he said. Homeless families stay in Haven House as a temporary shelter, working with staff to create a family budget and then transitioning into a permanent home.

The average length of a family’s stay is about 17 days and staff follows up on the families for six months to a year to track their progress. More than half of transitioned families successfully stay in their permanent home at a year’s checkup, Biber added.