Kentucky Basketball Coach Gives Coal Miner’s Family VIP Game Tickets

Chad Hedrick WKYT - Facebook (left) / John Calipari / Twitter (right)

Kentucky Basketball coach John Calipari released an emotional statement on Twitter, along with a photo, offering a coal miner’s family VIP tickets to Rupp Arena after seeing the man with his son watching them play in Pikesville.

The photo showed a tired but dutiful father dressed in his coal mining safety-striped clothes, work boots, his face still black with coal dust, and staring down as his son sat in the seat next to him enjoying the game.

The man clearly just got off work, rushed to the game to have a memorable night out with his son, and didn’t have time to clean himself up or change his clothes.

Calipari tweeted, “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. I don’t know who this is, but I have tickets for him & his family at Rupp to be treated as VIPs!!”

Calipari’s tweet was met with thousands of comments and over one-hundred-fifty thousand likes from people who got emotional about the photo as well.

Calipari also added, “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,’” he wrote. Also adding, “They work for each other. The ultimate teammates!!”

The game was on Saturday (Oct 22) and was played to raise money and awareness about the areas of the state that had been hit hard by the deadly floods that happened back in June.

Within a matter of time, the man’s wife Mollie McGuire heard about it and created a new Twitter account so she could respond to Calipari’s heartfelt message.

Mollie replied, “This is my Husband Micheal McGuire with our son Easton! Sorry I had to create a new twitter account. Lost access to my old account since I rarely use twitter. We can be reached by Instagram, Facebook or this Twitter account!”

After identifying herself and her husband Michael Joe McGuire, Kentucky Sports Radio confirmed that the McGuire family got their tickets and will soon be heading to Lexington for the full VIP experience.

The Kentucky Wildcats start their season in two weeks with two home games against Howard and Duquesne and they are expected to have a packed house.

Until then, listen to these incredible 1963 country songs below about working in the Kentucky coal mines. It’ll paint a picture into what it was really like to work deep in the mines back in those days.