SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A preacher of team over self and an activist in servant leadership, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari (pictured) will be honored Nov. 15 by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and The Rotary Club of Springfield at the ninth annual Basketball Hall of Fame/Springfield Rotary “Service Above Self” Luncheon.
Calipari will be honored as a “Service Above Self” award winner at the Hall of Fame’s Center Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Nov. 15 at noon alongside Jeb Balise, a longtime West Springfield resident whose family business has displayed a longstanding commitment to community service.
Since 2010, the annual luncheon and awards have highlighted some of the remarkable individuals within the Western Massachusetts community and the larger basketball family who have truly lived out the motto of Rotary International, "Service Above Self."
"We're very pleased to be recognizing Jeb Balise and John Calipari for their outstanding philanthropic work and service to others," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "On a regional, national and even global scale, their impact can be seen and felt. We invite the Springfield community to join us in celebrating these exceptional gentlemen who have given so much to others."
Calipari is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer known as a "players-first" coach with a penchant for helping people reach their dreams. He has guided six teams to the NCAA Final Four, one to a national championship and helped 46 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his 26-year college coaching career. During his success spanning UMass, Memphis and Kentucky, Calipari has continued to give credit to his players and use his platform to do good in the communities in which he has coached and across the world.
Calipari has raised millions of dollars to help those in need, notably hosting telethons in 2010, 2012 and 2017 to generate millions for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey. In 2013, Calipari began hosting an annual alumni weekend in conjunction with his basketball fantasy camp experience with the intent to raise money for charity. After generating $350,000 for charities during the inaugural game, the event has generated more than $1 million for charity every year since.
In 2012, The Calipari Foundation was founded by John and his wife, Ellen, to support educational, social and spiritual communities with a particular focus on enriching the lives of children. The foundation aims to inspire philanthropy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has teamed up with several charities including Samaritan's Feet, the West Liberty Recovery Fund, 4 Paws for Ability, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the Urban League of Lexington and the V Foundation. Calipari continues to motivate his players and others by living and preaching the motto, "it's never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it's about how high you bounce back."
“Service Above Self” Award Winners 2017: Jack & Colette Dill, Nancy Lieberman 2016: Spencer Haywood, Susan J. Kaplan 2015: Mike Glenn, Henry Thomas 2014: Bob Delaney, Bob Perry, York Mayo 2013: Vinny Del Negro, Paul & Diana Doherty 2012: Jim Calhoun, The D’Amour Family 2011: Rebecca Lobo, Charles Ryan 2010: Bob Lanier, Dan Roulier
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught