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“The kind side of Coach Cal”

In today’s Memphis Commercial Appeal, tucked somewhere between 100 crime stories and some story Dan Wolken wrote by the light reflecting off his bedazzled Ed Hardy shirt, was a little letter to the editor from a woman named Glenda B. Stewart. Stewart typed up a letter (I prefer to imagine my Glendas using typewriters and wearing flowery shirts similar to Wolken-wear) and sent it in after reading about a certain basketball coach’s donation to his former community. Here is what she had to say:

It was so nice to read the positive article on June 2 about coach John Calipari’s support of the Streets Ministries.

I also think very highly of Coach Cal. David, my now-deceased husband, got to know Cal after a three-month stay in the hospital. Some friends sent David a University of Memphis shirt signed by Cal. Six months later, David went to thank Coach Cal. Coach showed him around his office and then asked to pray for David.

During my husband’s 41/2 years battling cancer, Cal invited us to participate in several team functions, came by to see David at home when he was too weak to go by Gibson’s doughnut shop, and finally came to the hospital to talk with him and pray for him. Upon David’s death, he came to the visitation.

I agree with John Wilfong that Calipari got a bad rap in Memphis. Lots of folks loved Cal during those nine wonderful years, then jumped ship when he left. The NCAA never proved he did anything wrong, yet he and his family were left to be ridiculed and slandered.

I’m sure Coach Cal is not perfect, but he did not deserve the mean-spiritedness shown by some people. I’m sure he showed kindness to others. I, for one, will always appreciate what he gave David during his last years.

Glenda B. Stewart


Article written by Thomas Beisner