Pat Kelsey almost made his name known in more ways than one on Tuesday night. Kelsey, the head coach of the Winthrop Eagles, fell to top ten-ranked Ohio State on the road in Columbus, but it was the post-game press conference that sparked the attention of most.
Kelsey has two children. His reaction, as well as every other mother and father, to the shooting last Friday in Newtown, CT left him heartbroken. Thus, he took every advantage he had at the to sound off on what he feels after what transpired last week at Sandy Hills Elementary.
What a brilliant move by Kelsey. He knew that playing one of the top teams in the nation would give him the privilege to have a televised post-game press conference to say whatever he wanted to.
Maybe he saw something the night before that sparked him to do that.
After winning his 900th career game on Monday night, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim used the platform he was provided with to not talk about his monumental accomplishment, but to talk about gun control and to acknowledge the families that were affected by the devastation on Friday.
Boeheim is the type of leader who puts himself last, so it was to no one’s surprise that he had no desire to talk about becoming the third college men’s basketball coach to ever reach 900 victories.
Boeheim has the ability to speak out whenever he feels like it. He and his Orangemen have a media following for being one of the top programs in the nation. It’s just poignant that he chose such a big stage to talk about a subject so fragile.
Kelsey, on the other hand, is far from those 900 wins. He doesn’t always get the platform that Boeheim might have on a nightly basis. Winthrop is not in the Big Ten or the Big East. Kelsey stepped up and spoke his mind when the red light came on. He had that one chance to speak out, and took full advantage of it.
Winthrop’s head coach even had the dignity to call out President Obama and the rest of Washington D.C. to get these issues on the table. Yes, he cared about losing to the Buckeyes, but one game doesn’t mean much.
When significant people who get more attention than the average American citizen speaks out against a topic such as gun control or mental health awareness, you bet people are going to listen. When it’s college coaches speaking out in-season, preparing to get to the NCAA Tournament, it should makes people stop and think.
Basketball is trivial, even when everyone’s seasons are beginning to fire up conference play. That’s what makes Kelsey and Boeheim’s speeches that much more special.