After spending the day working far beneath the Earth’s surface, Michael McGuire probably wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower and put his feet up.
Instead, the coal miner from Pikeville, Kentucky rushed straight from the mines to a University of Kentucky Wildcats Blue-White scrimmage. This would be his 3-year-old son’s very first college basketball game, and Michael wasn’t going to miss it for the world.
With no time to wash up or change his clothes, Michael showed up at the game in his work gear, covered in black soot from head to toe. Little Easton had the time of his life at the game, but it was his father who wound up gaining viral fame thanks to a photo snapped by fellow Kentucky fan Sue Kinneer.
Sue saw Michael and recognized that he was a miner who had clearly come straight from work to watch the game with his son. She took a picture and shared it on several Wildcats fan pages online, hoping someone from the athletics department would see it and give Easton an autograph. Instead, it was Coach Cal himself who spotted the picture.
University of Kentucky Head Basketball Coach John Calipari was moved by the image, too, so he shared it on Twitter.
My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) October 24, 2022
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!! pic.twitter.com/a5BJXUnK2v
By the time Coach Cal’s tweet went viral, Michael was already back at work in the mines. He had no idea what was happening until he resurfaced that night.
“When I got out and got service on my way home, it went crazy… I couldn’t believe that it was real,” Michael said.
Coach Cal also said he hopes Michael’s story will be a great lesson not just for fans, but for his players as well.
“I talked to my guys about it,” he told reporters at a press conference. “It’s just a great lesson, and I showed ’em the picture yesterday of Michael and his son, and I talked about hard, backbreaking work that’s honorable work, but that he makes time for his son, even when he knew he couldn’t shower. It didn’t matter what he looked like, he just wanted to be with his son.”
The McGuire family hasn’t decided which game they’ll attend yet, but they’re looking forward to having the red carpet rolled out for them! They’ll be treated to dinner with Coach Cal, a pregame shootaround, a meet-and-greet with the players, and courtside seats at Rupp Arena.
We just love seeing devoted dads like Michael get the VIP treatment they deserve! We hope this family has the time of their lives at the game.
Share this story to thank Coach Cal for showing respect to a hardworking fan like Michael!
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