‘It’s mind-blowing’: Ky. coal miner in viral photo from UK game reacts to attention

‘It’s mind-blowing’: Ky. coal miner in viral photo from UK game reacts to attention
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 12:44 PM MST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A picture from this weekend’s University of Kentucky Blue-White Game in Pikeville is going viral.

The photo shows a coal miner coming straight from work to the game at the Appalachian Wireless Arena on Saturday. It caught the attention of UK Head Basketball Coach John Calipari, who posted it on his Facebook page Monday morning.

In the post, Coach Cal shared his family’s beginnings in the coal industry and said he would provide VIP tickets to the man and his family at a home game at Rupp Arena.

Social media and Big Blue Nation quickly helped identify the coal miner as Micheal McGuire, from Pikeville. He said he had about 45 minutes to get from work to the game, and did not want to miss any of his son, Easton’s first basketball game experience.

“It was either go straight there, or miss half the game to go home and take a shower and everything,” said McGuire.

When Coach Calipari shared the photo, McGuire was underground working. It wasn’t until hours later that he found out about it.

“When I got out and got service on my way home, it went crazy...I couldn’t believe that it was real.”

McGuire said he talked to Calipari Monday evening, who told him about the VIP experience he wants to offer the family. They haven’t picked which game they will come to Lexington for, but are excited to see the Cats play in Rupp.

“It’s mind-blowing that everybody came together like that,” he said.

Calipari tweeted Monday afternoon that UK had connected with the family, saying “Thank you everyone for your incredible response to this. No one rallies like the BBN!” He went on to say, “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!!”