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College hoops coaches join in call for change after Sandy Hook tragedy

The SportsXchange

Two prominent college basketball coaches, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Winthrop

coach Pat Kelsey, are among the latest public figures to join the public outry

in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders last week.

Both coaches made impassioned pleas the last couple of days, calling for

significant changes in the culture of the U.S.

Boeheim, who became the third coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 900

wins on Monday, used his post-game press conference to call for tougher gun

control laws, particularly assault weapons like the one used in the Sandy Hook

School tragedy.

"This will probably offend some people," Boeheim said. "If we in this country

as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about

firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I'm a hunter. I've hunted. I'm not talking

about rifles. That's fine. If one person in this world; the NRA president,

anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing.

This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we

don't get out and do something about this."

Boeheim's comments drew applause from fans who came into the press room

following the game to be part of his historic victory celebration. But there

was little celebration with Boeheim at the microphone.

"I saw one guy, a representative I was very proud of, somebody in his state had

just come out and said ‘We need more guns. We don't need less. We need to give

teachers gun so they can shoot people.' Yeah, that's really good thinking to do

that.

"If we can't get this thing done, I'm with the mayor of New York City, if we

can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have. This is

about us. This isn't about the President or those other people down there (in

Washington D.C.). We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to

get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now."

The following day, Winthrop University coach Pat Kelsey also called for

dramatic change, particularly in the American culture.

"There's 20 families in Newport, Conn., that are walking into a pink room, with

a bunch of teddy bears, and nobody laying in those beds, and it's tragic," said

Kelsey, in his first year at the South Carolina school. "I don't know what

needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done.

"I know this country has issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness

issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact, the understanding that decent

human values are important. Our leaders, I didn't vote for President Obama, but

he's my president now.He's my leader. I need him to step up. Mr. Boehner, the

speaker of the house, he's a Xavier (University) guy, he's a Cincinnati guy, he

needs to step up.

"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up. This

has to be a time for change and I know this microphone is powerful right now

because we're playing the fourth-best team in the country. I'm not going to

have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe not the rest of my

life. I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach

every day and the two little girls I get to raise. Hopefully, things start

changing because it's really, really disappointing. I'm proud to grow up

American and I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever, and it's

gotta stay that way. It's going to stay that way, but we've got to change.

A total of 26 people, including 20 children -- mostly first-graders -- and six

adults, were killed in the slaughter brought about by 20-year-old Adam Lanza,

who subsequently committed suicide after the shootings. |
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