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John Calipari Gives Local Coal Miner The UK "VIP" Treatment

I don't care how tough you are, where you're from, or what you believe in, this is one of the most heart-warming things I have ever seen. As many of you know, Kentucky held their annual Blue-White scrimmage down in Pikeville, Kentucky last weekend with plans of raising money for the victims of the flooding, that happened right there in the backyard of the event.

Nearly 7,000 die-hard UK fans made the trip, some for the first time ever, and got to see their Wildcats up close and in person. I made the trip and I can easily say, watching blue jam-pack those streets and that arena was a really cool experience. We're also seeing John Calipari leveraging his reach as well as the Kentucky brand to make a change for good in this world, as he's done so many times in his tenure here.

After collecting the proceeds from ticket sales, concessions, sponsors, and everything it took to get the event going, the team announced at halftime a check that will be donated to the Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund for $162,450.00 while wearing new warm-up apparel that said "606" and "Appalachia Basketball" in place of the normal "Kentucky Basketball" logo in the process.

After presenting this check, then the Governor giving an emotional speech to the fans there letting them know that they "aren't alone", 'Follow You To Virgie' by Tyler Childers broke out across the arena speakers to finish out halftime clock, and it was one of the coolest moments I've ever been a part of. For those of you not familiar with the area, Virgie (KY) is just about 20 minutes up the road from where the scrimmage was held. A full circle event in its entirety. Also, another fun fact, that's my bald head taking pictures in the bottom right of the picture, for anyone who cared. I know you don't, but I have to admit it sure is hard to keep your cool when you're watching such a special moment happen to the people and things that you care about so much - Kentuckians and Kentucky basketball.

To top that amazing day off for the program and the state as a whole, Coach Cal one-upped himself less than 48 hours later. He made a social media post Monday morning that seems to be going extremely viral on multiple social media platforms for a good deed he decided to do on top of what they have already done.

There was a fan in attendance who brought his family with him to the Blue-White scrimmage, who was fresh off his coal mining job nearby. As he looked the part, it caught coaches eye and he felt the need to do something to support him even more because his appearance "hit home" for him.

John Calipari said in a post, "My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home. From what I’ve been told, after his shift, he raced to be with his son & watch our team. Don’t know who this is, but I have tickets for him & his family at Rupp to be treated as VIPs!!"

How amazing? He went on in the comments of the post and said, "I’ve thought a lot today about my grandfather, who worked underground in the mine. I’ve also had the privilege to go underground with miners in KY and a comment stuck out to me: 'We go down together and we come up together.' They work for each other. The ultimate teammates!!"

So a pretty cool moment turned into an even better one, and the whole nation is getting to see Kentucky take care of Kentuckians, as they always do, with the posts getting a lot of attention online.

I remain unchallenged in this saying that I've advocated for so long, time after time.You can put wins and losses, coaching style, whatever it may be you have against John Calipari to the side, there’s one thing he’s absolutely always done right here and that’s use Kentucky’s platform to support people all across this state (and outside of it) who are in desperate need of help. And that might be his best characteristic of them all. Kudos to you, Cal, and the players and staff that you lead on a daily basis.

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Mike Mcbride
Mike Mcbride

Cal may or may not be the best coach in the country, but he has the biggest heart.

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