Viral coal miner gets VIP basketball experience, notes importance of fatherhood

Duquesne Kentucky Basketball
Coal miner Michael McGuire is introduced during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Kentucky and Duquesne in Lexington, Ky., Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. An image of McGuire covered in coal dust at a Kentucky scrimmage earlier this season went viral, gaining the attention of head coach John Calipari. (James Crisp/AP)

Viral coal miner gets VIP basketball experience, notes importance of fatherhood

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The coal miner whose photo went viral as people saw him sitting while covered in coal dust at a basketball scrimmage in October is now quietly pointing to the importance of being a present father.

On Oct. 22, clad in coal miner’s clothing, Michael McGuire rushed from work to join his family at a University of Kentucky men’s basketball scrimmage.

During the game, Wildcats head coach John Calipari noticed McGuire and tweeted a photo, saying he was reminded of his own experience as a member of a coal mining family in West Virginia and promised a VIP experience for the McGuire family at a future game. This past week, Calipari made good on that promise during the Wildcats’ game against Duquesne University.

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While at the game, McGuire was asked by a reporter whether his efforts to meet his family at that October scrimmage meant “you were being a super-dad” or if they were just part of being a father.

“Just doing what I always do,” McGuire responded, noting the importance of being a father regardless of appearances. “Pretty much part of it. I’ve shown up at countless Pee Wee baseball games like that.”

The McGuire family said they have been overwhelmed by the attention they have received since Calipari’s initial tweet.

“My phone just started blowing up,” McGuire said of the notoriety that came when the photo first went viral.

McGuire’s wife, Mollie, said they have heard from people around the world, including Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

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“That’s when it’s like, you know, we’re just a small Eastern Kentucky family. Just to see how it’s touched everyone has been very touching for us and for Michael to see what it means just because he’s a good dad. And we reassure him that he’s appreciated all the time, but just all the kindness of everyone else has been very touching for us,” she said.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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