Soot-Covered Coal Miner Takes Son to College Basketball Game. Then the Coach Spots Them.

A striking photo of a coal miner and his son watching a basketball scrimmage at the University of Kentucky over the weekend inspired the team’s head coach to offer the man and his family VIP tickets.


Who says social media has to divide us?


“My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home,” Wildcats head coach John Calipari tweeted Monday in response to the photo.

“From what I’ve been told, after his shift, he raced to be with his son & watch our team,” Calipari added.

  • The Hall of Fame coach also said he’d procured VIP tickets for the man and his family.

Later, in a Facebook post, Mollie McGuire identified the man in the viral photo as her husband, Michael McGuire, a coal miner at Excel Mining.

  • “It doesn’t matter to him how long he has worked or how hard his day is, he is always there and shows up for our babies! He is the most selfless man ever and always puts his family first! Our babies absolutely adore him and Easton our son tells people he is a coal miner like his daddy. We are beyond blessed and thankful!” she wrote.
  • “My husband chose the job he has to support our family so that I could be home to raise our wonderful children, there are many times he misses out on these events due to work, so any chance he can be there he is, no matter how tired or dirty.”


The contributions of America’s coal miners, who work long hours in sometimes-hazardous conditions, have rarely received such widespread recognition.

More than half of U.S. electricity is generated by coal or uranium, both products of mining, the National Mining Association reported in 2016.

  • According to the NMA, the average American uses 40,000 pounds of minerals every year.

Want to thank a miner?: About 200,000 people work in the U.S. mining industry.