John Calipari nominated for regional Emmy

John Calipari entertained viewers with his best John Wall during the Hoops for Haiti telethon at WKYT’s studios on Jan. 17, 2010.
John Calipari entertained viewers with his best John Wall during the Hoops for Haiti telethon at WKYT’s studios on Jan. 17, 2010. Lexington Herald-Leader

He doesn't have an NCAA crown, but this summer, University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari might have an Emmy.

In what is certainly a rarity, Calipari has been nominated for a regional Emmy award for his role in the WKYT (Channel 27) Hoops for Haiti telethon.

He is one of 12 people who the Lexington CBS affiliate submitted as part of its entry. Others include WKYT anchors Sam Dick, Amber Philpott, Rob Bromley and Brandon Fisher.

The telethon, in which the UK basketball team participated, raised more than $1.3 million for earthquake relief in Haiti and led to President Barack Obama phoning the team to thank them for their efforts.

"It's not very often you see people not directly involved in the business nominated for awards," said Emmy awards administrator Cherie Housley, who said she can't recall a basketball coach being nominated in her 25 years with the organization.

The special program was chosen as one of four nominees in the special achievement for community service category in the Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards competition. The Ohio Valley Regional chapter includes television markets in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Winners will be announced during a ceremony July 30 at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville.

Calipari, in a statement, congratulated WKYT on the nomination. "I'm extremely grateful to be listed among you and all the other nominees but the real Emmy nomination goes to all the people that donated and made the telethon a success for the people of Haiti," he said.

WKYT and Calipari's competition includes work by Louisville station WHAS; a program on autism by WCMH in Columbus, Ohio; and a pet-themed special produced by Cincinnati company Blind Squirrels Production Group for Kroger and Nestle Purina.

Hoops for Haiti came together within just a couple of days, WKYT news director Robert Thomas said. Station manager Wayne Martin and Calipari discussed the idea and sprang into action.

"It took a lot of involvement, not just from the news team but everybody at WKYT," Thomas said. "It raised an unbelievable amount of money."

Thomas said Calipari was involved from start to finish.

"It was his brainchild for something for the basketball team and the community to come together to do," he said.

Calipari was also nominated last year for the inaugural United Nations Non-Government Organization Positive Peace Award for his work with the Samaritan's Feet charity. Calipari helped deliver new shoes to orphans in Haiti, where he washed the feet of the orphans before helping them put on the shoes. Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale won the award for her efforts to aid earthquake victims in Haiti.

Calipari also has been a panelist in an ESPN Content of Character national town hall program that discussed race relations in sports.

The Hoops for Haiti nomination was one of 11 that WKYT received. Others included Sam Dick for best news anchor, T.G. Shuck for best weather anchor and Dave Spencer for best news reporter.

Kentucky Educational Television received seven nominations.

NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) received four nominations, including best special event coverage for last year's Kentucky Derby.

ABC affiliate WTVQ received one nomination: for best feature news report for a piece by reporter Greg Stotelmyer and photographer Christopher Woosley.