Pat Kelsey: New UMass coach has change of heart just minutes before press conference

Kevin Kaduk
The Dagger

What was your favorite memory of the Pat Kelsey UMass era?

A press conference to welcome the young coach as UMass’ next basketball leader was minutes away from starting on Thursday when media members and boosters were suddenly ushered out.

“Unforeseen circumstances,” they were told.

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A little while later, those circumstances were revealed: Kelsey, hired by UMass earlier this week, was heading back to Winthrop after a change of heart. A source told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Kelsey did not believe UMass “was the right place for him.”

UMass said Kelsey informed the school of his decision at 3:30 p.m., a half-hour before the press conference was scheduled to start. Kelsey later cited “personal reasons” for his abrupt decision.

The news of Kelsey’s cold feet hit UMass fans hard, as well as some of its most famous alums:

As for all those social media tweets from both UMass and Kelsey as they got to know each other around Amherst this week?  Awk. Ward.

(If you don’t see anything below here, it’s because both sides made like a broken-up couple on Instagram and deleted all evidence of any relationship ever existing.)

Kelsey has coached at Winthrop for five seasons and played at Xavier in the late ’90s before serving as an assistant there. Whether or not he returns to the Eagles or draws interest from another open job remains to be seen. (One angry UMass fan altered Kelsey’s Wikipedia page to say he was interested in the Georgetown opening or one at his alma mater Xavier that is still filled by Chris Mack for the time being.)

At any rate, Kelsey is far from the first coach to back out of a new gig.  Billy Donovan with the Magic in 2007 comes to mind. Dana Altman spent one day as an Arkansas Razorback in 2013. Bobby Cremins went to South Carolina for a minute before running back to Georgia Tech in 1993.

Pat Kelsey is heading back to Winthrop. (AP)
Pat Kelsey is heading back to Winthrop. (AP)

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