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Making a difference in West Liberty

Today was a special day.

We’ve had our fair share of special moments over the years. Since Cal came to town, it’s hard to keep count. But for all the National Championships, rings, and banners in the world, nothing may have made more of a difference than this morning’s radio show from West Liberty. What was supposed to be a routine stop on the KSR statewide tour of affiliates turned into a benefit to raise money for the victims of the March 2nd tornado. Thanks to the efforts of loyal KSR listeners like Rose and guests like John Calipari, Joker Phillips and others, a community in need was able to get the attention it so desperately deserves.

I’m not sure people outside of this state will understand how significant this morning was. John Calipari didn’t have to come to West Liberty. In fact, he didn’t have to come on the radio show at all. He’s a busy man with a lot of things to do. But, in what has become true Calipari fashion, Cal didn’t just call in to the show or make a donation. He got in a helicopter, strapped a seatbelt across the National Championship trophy, and flew to West Liberty to help. After surveying the damage, Cal came on the radio show and delivered a heartfelt speech on the damage in West Liberty and the importance of giving back. Everyone says Cal is obsessed with basketball; for his job, he has to be. But, for an hour, Cal acknowledged there are things in life bigger than the game. Things like family, community, and charity. For an hour, he matched every donation coming into the West Liberty Recovery Fund dollar by dollar, up to $25,000. To him, that’s a job requirement:

“The seat I’m in will bring light to something that needs to be out there. The reality is, whoever the coach of Kentucky is owes it to the Commonwealth to stand up and be involved.”

Cal knows this state. He knows that everywhere he goes, he will have people watching, tweeting, following. And he knew that by coming to West Liberty in the fashion that he did, his spotlight would spill over to a community in need. We call ourselves the Big Blue Nation, but Cal said at times, he thinks of us an army, a comparison that rang true in West Liberty this morning. Through Twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth, Kentucky fans raised over $50,000 for the West Liberty recovery efforts, a number which hopefully will continue to rise past today. Even the local media was able to put its petty feuds aside to champion the cause, spreading the word via Twitter and at one point, make West Liberty a trending topic across the nation.

Although he couldn’t be there in person, Joker Phillips called in and described his visit to West Liberty, which was a stop on his Gameday Ready tour earlier this summer. Joker toured the area at the time and met with the Morgan County football team, whom he told Matt he has invited to be his guests at the Western Kentucky game in September.

In a time in which college sports is wracked by scandal, it’s comforting to be a fan of an institution whose leaders put so much emphasis on what’s truly important. Cal and Joker are incredible ambassadors for our state, something that is too often taken for granted. Cal’s appearance in West Liberty this morning, put together at the last minute, is yet another example of his dedication to his job, the state, and the fans. Yet, I doubt you’ll ever read about it in the national media. For them, it’s too easy to paint him in a negative light via anonymous polls and lazy hit pieces. As fans, we find that infuriating and regrettable, but you almost feel like Cal has moved past it. For him, he’s got more important things to do, like recruiting and coaching. Or getting in a helicopter to fly in and give a devastated community hope.

Now more than ever, I’m proud to be a Kentuckian.


If you’re interested in donating to the West Liberty Recovery efforts, please visit, call 606-743-1080 or go straight to their PayPal donation page. Thanks.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

22 Comments for Making a difference in West Liberty

  1. Joker
    2:04 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Joker needs to put his $ up and donate too! Sure, he doesn’t make the millions Cal does but he can donate some cash! DO IT JOKER!!!

  2. lisamarieky
    2:13 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    nicely written Tyler. I am proud of our state too.

    PS i am sure Joker kicked in some moola, relax #1

  3. Dent 44
    2:14 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    I am going to again restate the obvious…..Cal “get’s it”!!

  4. Teddy Broosevelt
    2:16 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    The national media won’t report this because it happens EVERYWHERE. Almost ever single professional athlete in America has a philanthropy event (from Cancer research to the Boys and Girls Club), do you think they complain when it doesn’t make it on ESPN? No. Jim Calhoun has 2 HUGE fundraisers for Cancer and Autism and he is actively involved with the both of them. Have you seen him on Yahoo, ESPN or CBS Sports? Shut up.

    Stop begging for attention for Cal. Is what he is doing very nice of him? Yes. Does it change the fact that he has cheated his way to the top? No.

  5. BIG AL
    2:21 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink


  6. Maxwell
    2:23 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Number 4, I hope that whatever is going on in your life right now, it can be resolved sooner rather than later. I would assume it has affected your family life and social life. We won the national title last year. You’re team did not. No need to take that out on cal.

  7. Ridge Runner
    2:26 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Well said, Ms T…well said.

  8. SexnNursinHomes
    2:26 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    4- You’re a real bright ray of sunshine there. Glad we have positive people like you around. I’d love to pee all over your toilet seat and share some of my positivity with ya.

  9. Ridge Runner
    2:27 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    4.. you sir are a jealous idiot.

  10. TAXman
    2:28 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    8. That’s gold. I for one will let you keep your positivity. I like mine a lot better.

  11. SexnNursinHomes
    2:30 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    10- Don’t eat asparagus. Trust me.

  12. Raazoul
    2:37 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    LOLOL #4! You can’t hide! We know your a Louisville fan…Your IQ is obvious. What’s funny is that THERE IS ANOTHER MAJOR HEAD COACH IN THIS STATE, where is he today? Don’t you trolls take a day off? We’re all sorry you never had any friends or girlfriends/boyfriends. Calipari will come help you if you need too.

  13. SexnNursinHomes
    2:41 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    12- Chawie Stwong is too busy buying tranny prostitutes in downtown Louisville to give a damn about Kentuckians.

  14. Will S
    2:52 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those effected by the storm. Best wishes to all of you.

  15. true blue
    3:05 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, thanks to the crew and all involved in coming to West Liberty today. It was a bright spot in a very trying time, and I know all the people that attended is very grateful for the recognition you have given our town. I know the football team will always remember this day along with the lucky young man who got the Cousin’s jersey. Coach Cal as always was terrific and inspired not only me but others around the state. We do need to give back to those less fortunate than us and he is always reminding us this is our civic duty. We are so fortunate to have him as a coach. I do not know of another coach anywhere that would give up the day to come and help an area in need. Thanks so much again for all you all did today.

  16. JDG
    3:16 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    It was a great day in my little home town today. A big thanks to Matt and the whole crew for getting this done and also coach Cal is just incredible. As much as he gets it done with his teams on the court I think he excels even more off of it with things like this that he most definately did not have to do. Thanks to everyone who donated as well from the bottom of my heart.

  17. KSR Fan
    3:33 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks to Coach Cal, Matt, Drew, Ryan and everyone who pulled off such a fantastic show/fundraiser this morning. It made me proud to be a UK and KSR fan.

  18. Will S
    3:38 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Just made a small donation, nothing much but I hope it helps. Im joining the Jay Bilas and Christian Laettner crusade to end the Duke/UK hatred. God Bless all of you effected. See you guys November 13th in Atlanta.

  19. stan
    3:56 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Donated. Where is CBS when Cal does things like this? I don’t care what some of the trolls on here say, I am glad he is here, he gives back, and HE GETS IT!!!

  20. stan
    3:59 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Go straight to hell #4. Go back to whatever team you support dumbass. Only a idiot like you would put something negative about Cal when he does this. You are a moron. GO CATS!!!

  21. Jax Teller
    4:00 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    I couldn’t have said it better Mrs TT, excellent post. I’m proud to be a small part of it.

  22. catfan68
    6:46 pm August 17, 2012 Permalink

    Ms Tyler…very nice post!!