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Oklahoma woman to donate kidney to college basketball coach

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – An Oklahoma woman is jumping through hoops in an attempt to save a stranger’s life.

Billy Gillispie is a well-known name around the college basketball circuit. He was the head coach for Texas A&M, Kentucky and Texas Tech. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of Tulsa.

Despite those jobs, he never had the pleasure of meeting Ericka Downey.

Downey is the wife of Northeastern State University men’s basketball head coach Mark Downey.

Although they have never met, Downey says she already feels a connection with him.

“Trying to chase the same dream, you just have that common bond,” she said.

Gillispie is currently the head basketball coach at Ranger College, but recently found out that he has stage four kidney failure.

When Downey saw the news that Gillispie was in urgent need of a kidney transplant, she jumped into action.

Without ever reaching out to him, she contacted the Mayo Clinic to become a donor. She recently learned that she is a match to Gillispie.

“Mind-boggling to me that someone would be so kind and so it’s just like an angel. It’s just amazing that anybody would be that selfless and that sacrificing for a person they don’t even know,” Gillispie told FOX 23.