LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The cheers of thousands of fans roared through Rupp Arena Friday night as Kentucky took down Duquesne.
However, the sounds of excitement began well before tipoff, as Micheal McGuire was welcomed back to the court.
It's time in the spotlight that has been a surprise for McGuire and his family.
"Every time someone from the news or anybody gets ahold of us, it seems unreal," McGuire said.
"Just doing what I always do. It's pretty much part of it. I've showed up at countless peewee baseball games like that."
As the picture of McGuire covered in coal dust watching the game made its way across the country, it became clear how touched people were by his efforts.
Chief among them was John Calipari.
UK's head coach, who has own connection to the coal mining industry, quickly took notice of McGuire and knew he had to acknowledge him.
"I immediately saw it. My grandfather was a coal miner," coach Calipari said.
"I want this guy at our games. Here's a hard-working guy who's into his family and children enough to forget about showering, cleaning. I just want to be with my son and I don't want to waste my time.
Calipari was touched enough to want to track McGuire down and make him a VIP.
Friday night, McGuire swapped his coal covered work attire for Wildcats gear as he and his family were welcomed into Rupp Arena as UK took on Duquesne.
As McGuire was introduced at half court as the famous "Y", he reflected on how far his love of the team had come.
From growing up watching UK games with his dad to carrying that tradition on with own kids and now standing as an example of dedication for Big Blue Nation.
"My nerves are still tore up. I didn't imagine there was that many people in there," McGuire said.