By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — John Calipari is willing to do whatever it takes to help Big Blue Nation and the rest of the country cope with the current COV-19 pandemic.
Beginning Monday, the Kentucky coach will launch “Coffee with Cal” on Facebook Live in a series of segments that will continue for the next 15-20 weeks and serve as a national fundraiser for COVID-19 relief.
“I want to do something that is uplifting and creates hope and gives people ideas of what to do for the next month,” Calipari said. “We’re going to have some great guests on (the program). … We want to answer questions (and) structuring your day is so important to keep going thinking ahead and staying in the moment of … let’s get through today and let’s make this the greatest day we can make it.”
Calipari will have special guests on the segments, including a former President, whom Calipari didn’t mention, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and is hopeful to land Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on his first program. He added that he will include many of his former Kentucky players and ESPN commentator Dick Vitale.
“We’re going to have enough time,” Calipari said. “I want to get some athletes on this, leaders, maybe some coaches on this. They may have some suggestions — the viewers. The goal right now is can we feed 10 million people and how do we do that? How do we do that through sponsorships.”
Calipari said people across the globe are learning “about being community again versus tribalism of I win, you lose — versus how do I help?”
The Kentucky coach hopes the show sets a path for the future past COVID-19.
“Having Mark Cuban on here is going to be great because things are going to change when we come out of this,” Calipari said. “Why not talk about it? Some of it’s going to be — you can’t fight it and it’s going to happen. In our profession what’s going to happen? It’s going to change some. How do we recruit?”
He added that things also could change in the work-place environment.
“There are people that were going to work maybe five days a week and maybe now they’re going two days a week after we get out of this because they work from home and guess what? It worked well. … there’s a lot of stuff that we can talk about.”
Calipari has raised funds in the past that have benefited Haiti, victims of Superstorm Sandy and flooding victims in Houston in an effort to “bring people together.”
“In this one, all we ask is to tune in,” Calipari said. “Tune in at 10 a.m. on Monday. This is going to be all of us together. I want to have fun with it, I want to be uplifting it and I want to create hope and do something where we do something and help because sometimes we all feel like, helpless and what else can I do?”
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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.