UK Men's Basketball

'Big donor' spent $108,199 in Hoops for Haiti auctions

Who's coming to dinner with Ashley Judd at John Calipari's place?

That was the $98,100 question after the end of a Hoops for Haiti auction that featured a chance to dine with the actress at the Lexington home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball coach.

"We have not heard from the big donor yet," said Carrie Boling, vice president of marketing for United Way of the Bluegrass.

"We've been in touch with Coach Cal's people ... and as of now, it's not someone familiar to them."

The eBay auction brought in $152,000. That was on top of a Sunday telethon hosted by the coach that raised $1 million for Haiti relief in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

Judd, a fan of Kentucky basketball, told ESPN that she and Calipari came up with the dinner idea separately, but at the same time.

Judd said she was discussing with her personal chef the idea of offering a dinner at her Tennessee home. After talking with Calipari, she said, she decided having it at his house "would concentrate the specialness of the package."

"We will probably do it in the summertime when both Coach Cal and I are available," Judd said.

If any Wildcat players are around, she said, they might drop by as part of an effort to do "whatever we can do to make it as worth this person's money as possible."

The successful bidder on the dinner also had the winning $10,099 bid to take a guest on a private plane ride to Cleveland for a Cavaliers game and a meeting with LeBron James, Boling said.

Bidding continues on one item: a Rolex watch. To bid, go to the United Way Web site, www.uwbg.org.

The United Way is receiving the payments because it already had a charity eBay account when the telethon and auction were hastily organized late last week. United Way will write a check to the Red Cross after it collects the money, Boling said.

Winn Stephens, the local Red Cross director of development, said he was "pleasantly surprised" at the auction totals.

But, he said, "after Sunday, and the outpouring of support we have had for this cause, nothing surprises me any more."

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