All proceeds from Sunday’s Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic will be donated to flood relief efforts in Louisiana, Kentucky Coach John Calipari said Thursday.
To explain why he wanted to help victims of the flood, Calipari cited first-hand experience. In 2012, “Superstorm Sandy,” the second-costliest hurricane in United States history, hit the coast of New Jersey and New York, where Calipari said he and his wife have summered.
“But it wasn’t hot like this,” he said in comparing the relief efforts for Sandy with those ongoing in the Baton Rouge area. “It wasn’t 95 degrees. I have no idea how they’re saving any of those houses. … When mold takes over the house, there’s nothing you can do.”
Ex-Cat Anthony Davis, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, had suggested the softball event could raise funds for flood victims, the UK coach said.
The Celebrity Softball Classic will be played at 6 p.m. Sunday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. A home run contest will be at 5:30.
Tickets are $5, $10 and $20. Tickets are available at CoachCal.com. To directly donate to the American Red Cross efforts to help Louisiana flood victims, fans can text GIVE to 859-955-8173.
“No donation is too small when you have this kind of disaster,” Calipari said.
Ex-Cats expected to participate in the softball event include Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Randolph Morris, Keith Bogans, Dale Brown, Kyle Macy, Rex Chapman and football quarterbacks Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen, plus UK baseball coach Nick Mingione.
As for the home run hitting contest, Calipari playfully (?) said, “I have the dark horse, and he’s over 50. The dark horse (is) John Robic.”
Calipari will not swing for the fences. “My hip is still bothering me,” he said, “and that’s my excuse, and that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.”
The softball event is part of the annual Coach Cal Fantasy Camp Experience. The fantasy camp serves as a fundraiser for several charities in Kentucky. Prior to the softball event, 80 hearing aids will be donated to the Starkey Foundation Hearing Mission, Calipari said.
The fantasy camp has raised more than $1 million for charities in each of the last three years, Calipari said.
In case of rain, there’s a backup plan. The softball tickets can be used to attend a designated UK basketball practice.
“So there probably be a lot of people hoping for rain Sunday,” Calipari said. “There will be a lot of rain-dancing on Sunday.”
Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic
6 p.m. at Whitaker Bank Ballpark