Calipari named Hall of Fame ‘Service Above Self’ honoree

Courtesy: Bob Blanchard with RJB Sports

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WTVQ) – A preacher of team over self and an activist in servant leadership, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari 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.

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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.”

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.”

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities to the luncheon are still available. Individual tickets are $75. For more information on sponsorships or to purchase tickets to the luncheon, contact Paul Lambert with the Basketball Hall of Fame at 413-231-5502 or

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at

“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