Calipari-led telethon will benefit Haiti

Kentucky coach John Calipari has helped organize and will be an active participant in a “Hoops for Haiti” telethon Sunday throughout the stateand into parts of West Virginia.

The goal is to raise money for the United Way and Red Cross as the organizations desperately try to help earthquake survivors in the wake of the horrific natural disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives, left the Caribbean island nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince in rubble and created an epic disaster that seems to get worse and worse in the days since the 7.0 quake hit earlier this week.

“I’ve been watching this and felt we had to do something,’’ said Calipari from Auburn, Ala., in advance of Saturday’s game between undefeated and second-ranked Kentucky and the Auburn Tigers. “We’re going to have auction items, have people from the city here matching funds do this so the money get to those for immediate help. We’ll have coaches calling in, former players and celebrities -- different people giving money. It’s immediate money. We want to help the American Red Cross right now.’’

Mike Kanarek of WKYT-TV in Lexington confirmed that the telethon will be live on stations in Lexington, Bowling Green, Hazard and Louisville as well as Huntington, W.Va. Kanarek said the telethon will also be streamed live on www.wkyt.com with links to make donations and bid on auction items.

Calipari said he will be in studio in Lexington from noon to 4:30 p.m., taking calls and participating in the telethon. The CBS affiliate will take its basketball and football programming at 1:30 p.m., but during halftime will go back to the telethon for updates.