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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell gave an inspirational talk at a Score International fundraising dinner Sunday — and then backed up his words with action.
Score International national baseball director Keith Madison takes athletes, coaches and others to the Dominican Republic for mission work that also involves helping children with baseball. Mitchell became involved with the organization a year ago and was the keynote speaker at this year’s dinner.
During the live auction after the dinner, Mitchell bid $500 for a Johnny Bench autographed Cincinnati Reds jersey. But that was just the start. He followed that with a winning $1,800 bid for a set of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali boxing gloves.
Yet there was more to come.
Mitchell donated a Kentucky Hoops Senior Day Experience that included parking, hospitality, seats and a special spot in the locker room for his “rousing” pregame talk.
Before the bidding started, one supporter offered $5,000 for the experience if at least one other person would match the bid. Mitchell explained the offer to the crowd, took his seat and then immediately said he would match the $5,000 bid. About a minute later, another supporter did the same to generate $15,000 for Score International from the UK Hoops Senior Day Experience.
But that also meant Mitchell showed his monetary support for Score International with $7,300 just a few minutes after sharing his testimonial.
By comparison, two men’s tickets for the UK-Florida Senior Day along with a night at the Marriott and $50 gift card to Rafferty’s went for $500. However, two tickets to the UK-Louisville game brought $1,5000.