University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari led a tour of the new player dorm, Wildcat Coal Lodge, for media and others who attended the dedication Tuesday of the new Joe B. Hall statue on the site.
The lodge, paid for by $7 million in donations from coal operators, has generated controversy, most recently Sept. 5 when protestors from the UK Beyond Coal Coalition marched outside seeking a name change among other changes. Joe Craft, the CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, who also donated $6 million for the basketball practice facility that bears his name, spearheaded the donation for the Wildcat Coal Lodge, stipulating the building hold a tribute to coal in the lobby.
In response, writer Wendell Berry, one of UK's most famous graduates, removed many of his papers from the university.
Inside the front door of the lodge, a photograph of coal miners is on the wall to the left. With it is the message, "Kentucky Coal, the Home Team Advantage."
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Those on the tour saw the Alliance Coal dining room, which sits next to a lounge that has eight oversized easy chairs in front of a plasma television. There is also a pool table.
On the upper floors are single rooms for the players. There are also double rooms.
Like most college students, the players prefer single rooms, Calipari said.
More than half the residents are students who are not on the basketball team, the coach said.
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