×

UMass names Pat Kelsey men’s basketball coach

  • Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey directs his team against Campbell in the first half of the Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game in Rock Hill, S.C., Sunday, March 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey, left, comforts Becky Kowalski as daughter Brittany looks on as the Kowalski's are introduced before a college basketball game between Winthrop and Presbyterian in Rock Hill, S.C. on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Becky Kowalski's seven-year-old son, Chase, was killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

  • Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey directs his team against Campbell in the second half of the Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game in Rock Hill, S.C., Sunday, March 5, 2017. Winthrop won 76-59. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey is the new coach at UMass. AP Photo

  • FILE - In this Sunday, March 5, 2017, file photo, Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey holds his son Johnny as he celebrates cutting down the net after the Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game against Campbell in Rock Hill, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

  • Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey directs his team against Campbell in the second half of the Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game in Rock Hill, S.C., Sunday, March 5, 2017. Winthrop won 76-59. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey reacts to a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois in Champaign, Ill., on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Danzl)



@MattVautourDHG
Thursday, March 23, 2017

AMHERST — Twelve days into its search, UMass has named a new men’s basketball coach.

Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey, who led the Eagles to a Big South Conference title and the NCAA tournament earlier this month, has accepted the position.

“I am thrilled to welcome Pat Kelsey and his family to the University of Massachusetts,” athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement announcing the hire. “Pat has been an important piece of some highly successful programs throughout his career, including the last five years leading the basketball program at Winthrop University. Coach Kelsey has a detailed plan for every phase of our program and a passionate work ethic providing fuel to reach our goals of building a championship-caliber program.”

Kelsey replaces Derek Kellogg, who was fired March 9 after the Minutemen lost in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Entering the coaching search season that annually overlaps with the postseason, Kelsey was considered one of the top mid-major head coaches and a likely candidate for a bigger job. He was rumored to be a possible hire at both North Carolina State and LSU. But those programs filled their vacancies with UNC-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts and VCU’s Will Wade, leaving Kelsey available and UMass swooped in.

Kelsey, who is married with three children, expressed excitement in the statement released by UMass.

“Lisa and I are thrilled to be joining the UMass family and the Amherst community,” Kelsey said. “UMass is a national college basketball brand with a proud, powerful tradition. As a player in the A-10, I saw firsthand what the potential is there. I look forward to the challenge of making UMass a major factor on the national level once again.”

Kelsey, 41, is 102-59 in five seasons at Winthrop, based in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He went 14-17 in his first year, but has averaged 22 wins per year since then.

Kelsey played for Skip Prosser at Xavier in the Atlantic 10, and later coached there. Kelsey started his career in college coaching under Prosser as the director of basketball operations at Wake Forest (2001-2004) and became an assistant with the Demon Deacons from 2004-2009. Kelsey was hired as Xavier’s associate head coach in 2009 and was there under Chris Mack for two years before being hired at Winthrop.

Kelsey has a degree in business administration and marketing from Xavier. He has used his marketing background to help create fan engagement at the schools where he has worked.

Kelsey figures to be active in the community.

He got national attention in 2012 when he used his postgame press conference after a loss at Ohio State to give a speech about the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.