In the last week of June, 2010, Ron Bishop, the president of Chatta-nooga’s SCORE Inter-national Ministry, along with Kentucky basketball coach, John Calipan, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They had enough athletic shores for 600 orphans.
Bishop reported that it was wonderful to see Coach Calipan care for the kids. “He gave them not just shoes, but he loved them, by hugging those kids and giving them hope.”
It kind of surprised Ron Bishop to see the Kentucky coach be so expressive in caring for the Haiti children, who looked the part of being orphans in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Bishop was no doubt surprised at seeing Calipan’s genuine compassion, because Coach Calipan’s reputation for being very a hard coach, who lived on the ethical edge, is widespread.
Sports writer, Mark Wiedmer, reports that Kentucky Coach Calipan was the first college coach to stage a wildly successful telethon for Haiti following the quake, and his was the only program to raise more than his $1.5 million goal.
But the highlight of the “love-gifts” experience reported by Ron Bishop was when he and Coach Calipan were handing out shoes someone asked, “Who is going to wash those kids feet before they put on that expensive new footwear?”
Coach Calipan answered, “I will wash them.” And to the amazement of all the reporters and the people gathered around the coach of one of the greatest college basketball programs in the world, got down on his knees and washed the feet of the of the orphans of Haiti.
Scriptural Guide: Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you (John 13:14-15).
Curtis Schofield is a retired United Methodist minister. He and his wife, Clara, have served two churches in Dade County. In retirement he volunteers through Trenton United Methodist Church to help small churches.