Deployed Kentucky Guardsmen get “facetime” with Coach Cal

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Left to right, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, Governor Steve Beshear, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini and UK forward Julius Randle speak with Kentucky Guardsmen deployed overseas via Skype from Calipari’s office in lexington, Ky., Jan. 23, 2014. It was the third year in a row that Calipari has been a part of the video conference with the Kentucky Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the third year in a row, Kentucky Guardsmen deployed overseas received the unique opportunity to chat with University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari via Skype, Jan. 23, 2014.

Calipari sat down with Governor Steve Beshear and Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky’s adjutant general to talk with Soldiers in Afghanistan, the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“Anytime you can touch home when you are eight or nine thousand miles away or even in Cuba which is very isolated, this is a great thing for them, and when you can do it with something a passionate as Kentucky basketball and Coach Cal, I can tell you these young people look forward to it, maybe more so than anything else,” said Tonini. “This could be as special as a call from home for them.”

To see more photos from this story, click here.

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Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, Kentucky’s adjutant general, Governor Steve Beshear and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari speak with deployed units of the Kentucky National Guard via Skype in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 23, 2014. Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, the Middle East and Cuba had the special opportunity to discuss Kentucky Basketball with Calipari during the conference. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

From his office at the university, Calipari began by thanking the Guardsmen for what they do and how glad he was to see the gatherings of Wildcat fans on the other end again for this special meeting. Soldiers of the 1103rd Military Police Detachment in Afghanistan, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion and Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation in the Middle East and the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Cuba shared the video screen and some time to discuss Kentucky Basketball with the coach.

“When General Tonini said we were going to do this again, I said ‘Great, just tell me when!’,” said Calipari.

The Soldiers got an additional treat when UK basketball players, Julius Randall and Alex Poythress also stopped by to say hello and thank the troops for their service.

Spc. Lerone Simmons with the 133rd asked Calipari to share his ideas on successful leadership, to which Calipari responded with his hopes of speaking to the troops in person once they return later this year.

“I’m definitely looking forward to hopefully meeting with Coach Cal, and bouncing ideas off of him to help us with future decision making,” said Simmons, who compared Calipari’s decisions on the court to some important choices we make in life.

“It was great to be able to Skype with Coach Cal and leadership, it meant a lot to us all here.”

Regardless of the meshing of political figures, generals and sports icons, the meeting was about Kentucky and the support at home for the Guardsmen serving around the world.

To see more coverage of this event, click on the following links:

Video from Skype conference:

Kentucky Sports Radio – http://kentuckysportsradio.com/basketball-2/coach-cal-gov-beshear-poythress-
and-randle-talk-to-troops-overseas/

 

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