On December 18, 2012, four days after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. which left 26 people dead, Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey, the father of two daughters, used his post game press conference after losing to No. 4 Ohio State as a platform to call for change.
“I know this microphone is powerful right now because we’re playing the fourth best team in the country,” he said. “I’m not going to microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life. And I’m going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men that I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise.”
Through that speech, which went viral, Kelsey formed a connection with Steve and Rebecca Kowalski, who lost their 7-year-old son, Chase on that tragic afternoon. On Saturday, Kelsey met the Kowalskis for the first time, inviting them to Winthrop’s 82-60 win over Presbyterian.
In addition to honoring the Kowalskis and remembering all who were lost on December 14, 2012, the Winthrop basketball team wore the first names of all the children on the back of their jerseys. Senior captain Joab Jerome wore the name Chase on the back of his No. 4 uniform.
The Kowalskis have started the The Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation (CMAK) to support physical and mental health. Kelsey intends to be involved in the foundation, according to the The Herald.