After five seasons at Winthrop, Pat Kelsey is headed to UMass.
The 41-year-old was announced as the Minutemen’s newest coach Tuesday.
“UMass is a national college basketball brand with a proud, powerful tradition,” Kelsey said in a statement released by the school. “As a player in the A-10 (at Xavier), I saw first hand what the potential is there. I look forward to the challenge of making UMass a major factor on the national level once again.”
UMass went 15-18 last season under Derek Kellogg, who took the Minutemen to the NCAA tournament as a six-seed in 2014, but saw the program languish around .500 the last three seasons.
Kelsey went 102-59 at Winthrop, going 26-7 this past season and taking the Eagles to their first NCAA tournament since 2010. Prior to his five-year stint with Winthrop, Kelsey was the associate head coach to Chris Mack at Xavier. He also previously worked at Wake Forest under Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio. He played in three NCAA tournaments while a player at Xavier.
“Pat has been an important piece of some highly-successful programs throughout his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement, “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.”
Winthrop made an assistant coaching hire on Monday as the program hired former Tennessee Tech assistant coach Brian Kloman to the same position.
Kloman replaces former assistant coach Brian Thornton, who left for Ball State earlier this spring, and the move was announced in a release from the school.
“Brian is someone that I have known for many years through the coaching profession and have tremendous respect for,” Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey said in the release. “He is a tireless worker and possesses and elite ability to cultivate relationships. He has gained a reputation as one of the best up and coming recruiters in our business. Student-athletes love him. I am excited to have him at Winthrop.”
The newest member of the Winthop staff comes after two seasons at Tennessee Tech and a stint at North Carolina Central. Kloman has also worked at Pikeville College, Daniel Webster and Pfeiffer College and is the son of Craig Ferguson, an assistant coach at Oklahoma State.
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.