President Obama gave the University of Kentucky men's basketball team and Coach John Calipari a presidential high-five for their "Hoops for Haiti" fundraiser.
On Tuesday afternoon in Columbia, S.C., the coach and team took part in a special conference call initiated by the White House and President Barack Obama. The No. 1-ranked Wildcats are in Columbia where they will take on the University of South Carolina at 9 p.m.
On January 17, Coach Cal asked the Big Blue Nation to come together and help the millions affected in the aftermath of the horrific earthquake in Haiti.
With the efforts of University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, WKYT, UK coaches and players (current and former), local and national celebrities, the collegiate coaching community, local and national businessmen across the country, and more, UK raised more than $501,000 in funds in its "Hoops for Haiti" telethon, a four-and-a-half hour fundraiser to help the relief efforts in Haiti. With matching funds, UK raised more than $1 million.
"The people and the fans of Kentucky, this state of Kentucky and the people all over this nation called in," UK head coach John Calipari said on the telethon. "I don't know what to say. It's emotional. We just spent a day and all you people did it. I just want to thank you. Thank you, Kentucky."
As players answered the phones, celebrities like actress Ashley Judd, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and country star Taylor Swift participated by volunteering to auction various items on eBay. The bid for a dinner for six at the Calipari home with Ashley Judd went for $98,100. The Hoops for Haiti effort has raised over $1.3 million in total.