Calipari, Kroger double team to help tornado victims

Published 6:16 pm Thursday, July 14, 2022

Kentucky coach John Calipari hasn’t forgotten about the victims of last December’s deadly tornadoes that ripped through the western part of the state.

Calipari and Kroger have partnered for an autograph tour that will benefit the victims and their families. The Kentucky coach will be making stops at selected locations beginning Tuesday in Louisville. The photo and autograph sessions are free, but fans are asked to consider donating a gift card to help benefit families struggling to recover from the devastating twisters.

“Big Blue Nation is a family and there is nothing like it,” Calipari said. “When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. When the tornadoes hit western Kentucky last year, we made a commitment as a program to not forget about the recovery and to be supportive for as long as it takes for them to get back on their feet. I appreciate Kroger stepping up and partnering with us on another opportunity to provide some relief to our friends in the western part of our state.”

He will make stops at Kroger locations in London from 1-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday; Thursday in Georgetown; Friday in Somerset and noon-1:30 p.m. Saturday in Morehead.

Calipari also is asking fans for their autographs. Last season, as a tribute to late Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall, Calipari carried a rolled-up program with him to the bench for every game, following Hall’s passing on Jan.15.

This season, Calipari plans to honor Hall in the same way, but has his own program with blank pages he hopes to fill with signatures and well wishes from fans across the state in an effort to bring the passion of Big Blue Nation with him onto the bench for every game. The program will be on-site at every Kroger location during Calipari’s stop and fans are encouraged to sign.

HOOVER JOINS UK STAFF

Former Wake Forest women’s basketball coach Jen Hoover has joined the Kentucky women’s basketball staff.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jen Hoover to the Big Blue Nation as an assistant coach,” Kentucky women’s basketball coach Kyra Elzy said. “She has 20 years of experience in Division I coaching, 11 in which she was a head coach. Jen brings a wealth of knowledge, a competitive spirit and a contagious energy to the Bluegrass.

“These are vital attributes that will make an immediate impact on our program. Jen’s coaching philosophy on and off the court align with our core values at Kentucky. She is excited to get to work, and she will hit the recruiting trails later on this summer.”

She served 10 seasons as women’s coach at Wake Forest and won 126 games in her tenure, a school record.

“The Kentucky women’s basketball program has proven to be one of the best in the country and I am looking forward to being a part of this special family,” she said. “I can’t wait to get to work with Coach Elzy, the incredible staff at Kentucky, and the players who have a clear vision of their goals and have set high standards in order to achieve those goals.”

Keith Taylor is the sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.taylor@kentuckytodaycom and via Twitter at keithtaylor21.