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Coach John Calipari Teams up with Mike Gottfried and Team Focus to Bring Mentoring Program to Kentucky
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari and former college football college and TV analyst Mike Gottfried today announced Calipari’s commitment to Gottfried’s decade-old Team Focus Program. A comprehensive, year-round community and outreach program started by Gottfried and his wife, Mickey, in 2000, Team Focus provides fatherless young men (ages 10 – 18) with life skills and a mentor relationship.

“This is something Coach Gottfried and I have been talking about for quite a while now and we’re excited to kick off what I know will be an important link between the Calipari Family Foundation and thousands of young men throughout the Commonwealth,” Coach Calipari said. “Ellen and I are constantly looking for alliances that serve our mission of helping underprivileged children in both Kentucky and Memphis.”

With the CFF’s initial pledge of $50,000 to Team Focus, Coach Gottfried and Coach Calipari will launch a Team Focus Chapter immediately here in Lexington to begin locating deserving young men right away and sending them to a leadership camp this summer. A local camp will begin in the summer of 2011 (details to follow later this year). The CFF has made an initial five-year commitment.

“Growing up without a father around and knowing what it feels like, I have a desire to provide a place for young men from everywhere to come and be encouraged, motivated, and challenged,” said coach Gottfried, whose Lexington-area ties go back to his head coaching days at both Murray State (1978-80) and the University of Cincinnati (1981-82). “When my father died on April 3, 1956, my whole life changed. We were three boys and a mother looking at each other after the funeral and wondering where we go from here.”

In a multi-state effort to help boys going through similar uncertainty, Team Focus conducts annual, cost-free camps, events, and social media outreach (a tool called FocusBook, similar to Facebook) that pairs young men without a father figure with volunteers willing to share time, guidance and an open resource for the young men they mentor.

The first “Camp Focus” was held in Mobile, AL in the summer of 2000. Along with athletic values, young men selected for camp were exposed to a variety of social, educational, and spiritual skills intended to help them as they advance through school and life. Today, 5-day summer leadership camps are held in Texas, Alabama, Washington D.C., Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, California and beginning in 2011, Kentucky.