Basketball

Kentucky basketball coach treats coal miner’s family to tickets


When Mollie McGuire answered the phone on Monday after seeing a number she didn’t recognize, the caller on the other end said, “Hello? This is John Calipari.”

“I was stunned,” McGuire told ESPN.com.

A photo of McGuire’s coal miner husband, Michael, had gone viral after he arrived at Kentucky men’s basketball’s Blue-White scrimmage in Pikeville, Kentucky, on Saturday with fresh soot on his face while wearing his miner’s work uniform and boots.

McGuire said her husband left the mines and immediately drove to the game to be with his wife and their 3-year-old son, Easton. Although he was tired after a long shift, Kentucky’s scrimmage was the first live basketball game their son had attended, and he didn’t want to miss it.

McGuire said her husband was unaware of the buzz about the photo because he’d been in the mines all day.

When Calipari reached Mollie McGuire on Monday, he offered her family tickets to an upcoming game and “VIP” treatment at Rupp Arena.

Calipari had arranged the scrimmage at Appalachian Wireless Arena to raise money for communities in Eastern Kentucky that had been ravaged by flooding over the summer.

Mollie McGuire said her family avoided the devastation other families endured during flooding that killed 39 people in that part of the state in August. Her family — they also have a 1-year-old daughter — packed up bags of clothing and gave them to family members and friends who’d lost everything.

She said Kentucky’s fundraising scrimmage will help those families.

“It’s amazing that these guys came here and raised money,” she added. “It’s going to put roofs over people’s heads.”





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