Calipari’s mother dies at 74



UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari’s mother, Donna Calipari, died Sunday in Charlotte, N.C., after a long battle with cancer. She was 74.

“As most of you know, my mom, Donna, has been battling cancer for several months. On Sunday, she lost her brave fight,” Calipari said Monday through his Twitter account. “On behalf of my dad, my two sisters, Ellen and all of our family … we want to thank the Big Blue Nation for all their prayers, cards … Your warmth uplifted her and all of us.”

UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said Calipari was expected to be on the sideline to coach for Tuesday’s game at Rupp Arena at 7 p.m.

“Our prayers go out to John and his family after losing his mother during her battle with cancer,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release. “We ask that the Big Blue Nation keep the Calipari family in their thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this time of grief.”

The team began practice Monday without Calipari, who was still flying back from Charlotte. The players found out Sunday night after practice.

“It was very sad,” junior DeAndre Liggins said of hearing the news. “She’s in all our prayers. I know it’s very tough. My dad passed, my brother passed, I know it’s very hard.”

“We’re all here for him, we’re all grieving for him right now and praying and supporting him,” senior Josh Harrellson said. “He’s our leader, and it’s hard to see him going through problems.”

The Calipari family is scheduled to have a private memorial service to honor Donna Calipari on Sunday, Dec. 5. In lieu of flowers, the Calipari family kindly asks that donations be sent in memory of Donna Calipari or by using Tribute #26909623 to:

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, ATTN: Tribute Program, PO Box 100, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN, 38148 or by calling 1-800-822-6344.


Team Wildcat, a UK student organization is encouraging everyone to wear black in support of the Calipari family at Tuesday’s game against Boston University.