By Margaret Flavin
In a society that celebrates millionaire athletes and actors for little in the way of substance, a refreshingly humble photo of a devoted dad has taken the internet by storm.
Michael McGuire is a coal miner and devoted father in Kentucky. Lifelong University of Kentucky basketball fans, his family was headed to UK’s Blue and White scrimmage in Pikesville, KY.
Unable to go home to shower, McGuire rushed to the stadium fresh from work, covered head-to-toe in coal dust, to not miss his son’s first game.
Sue Kinneer (identified later in a tweet by Kentucky coach John Calipari) snapped a photo of McGuire next to his son and the simple, yet powerful image caught the attention of millions who were touched by the example of fatherly love.
Kentucky’s men’s basketball head coach John Calipari shared the image after the game.
My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home.
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
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) October 24, 2022
Calipari spoke about what the simple, powerful moment meant to him.
“I was sent the picture and never even looked at who sent it to me, because when I saw the picture I was like, it hit me right between the eyes when I saw it. I had to find out later because I went to coffee shop ‘which one of you guys sent me this?’ My being staff it was ended up Mark Hill…I don’t know where he found it or where he saw it… so when we put it out we got business owner, I mean you know, so I called when we find out who it was, I called and it was, we had Molly McGuire’s name…”
“…We talked for a while and what I got was…because you guys are looking at it as though, here’s a guy …and we know the power of basketball in our state. We all know it, you saw it when I went out this summer and you see it. But my thought was, that’s what this is about. He wanted to be there so bad that he was willing to leave without showering, without changing, just get in his car and go because he got out of the mine late.”
“It wasn’t about that one about that….is that he wanted to be there with his son, that’s why I did it. So your talking about a minor and I, I’ve said my family, I called my dad today, I said Clarksburg , he said it was Clarksburg, it might have been Shinnston where my grandfather worked, and Molly’s comment to me is my husband is humble, he’s hard-working..this is hard work, but he makes enough being there that I don’t have to work. And he’s a great father. And he’s done this many times.”
“You’re bringing light to a good man, a hard-working Kentuckian, a coal miner, who does everything he can to make time for his family and his don and his daughter.”
“I appreciate it because it’s how my family got their start in this country. The American Dream started in a coal mine in Clarksburg West Virginia.”
Calipari invited the miner and his family to a basketball game at University of Kentucky for VIP treatment.
The New York post reports:
From the coal mine to the basketball court.
Michael McGuire, the coal miner and father of two who went viral on Twitter, was honored during the University of Kentucky’s basketball game Friday night.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari extended the invitation after seeing the photo of McGuire — covered in coal dust following his shift — and his young son, Easton, attend the team’s scrimmage on Oct. 25.
The McGuire family eventually met with Calipari in Lexington and sat behind the bench for Kentucky’s 77-52 win over Duquesne.
“Had a great time with the McGuire family last night,” Calipari said on Twitter. “They are great people and wanted me to be sure to thank everyone for their kindness, especially Sue Kinneer, who was the person who posted the picture of Michael originally!
Had a great time with the McGuire family last night. They are great people and wanted me to be sure to thank everyone for their kindness, especially Sue Kinneer, who was the person who posted the picture of Michael originally! pic.twitter.com/5Y0p8uQKRv
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) November 12, 2022
The “Y” tonight … Michael McGuire!! pic.twitter.com/u56SAqp4jA
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 12, 2022