Pat Kelsey arrived at Winthrop in 2012 ready to #RockTheHill.
Now it’s time for him to #UniteTheMasses.
Kelsey, with his penchant for a catchy social media hashtag, has been hired by UMass as its new men’s basketball coach.
Less than a week after coaching Winthrop in its first NCAA Tournament game in seven years, Kelsey took the job left vacant when Derek Kellogg was fired by UMass March 9. Multiple outlets reported Kelsey’s hiring, which was later confirmed by a UMass press release.
Winthrop hired Kelsey in 2012, and he repaid former AD Tom Hickman and former school president Anthony DiGiorgio’s faith by going 102-59 and sharing the Big South regular season title each of the last two seasons.
“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.”
$4 million UMass’ $4 million basketball budget is more than three times that of Winthrop’s $1.3 million.
The Cincinnati native became the Big South’s quickest coach to win 100 games earlier in March. He signed a contract extension in 2014 to take his deal through 2019 and pay him more than $220,000. Masslive.com reported UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said March 10 that the school’s next basketball coach would make $800,000 to $900,000 annually.
“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,” Bamford said in a press release from the school.
“Winthrop University is so fortunate to have had Pat Kelsey as our head men’s basketball coach for the past five years,” said Winthrop athletic director Ken Halpin. “In his time here he has done everything right and done nothing but improve every aspect of this program. The impact he has made on the Winthrop and Rock Hill communities has been tremendous.”
I’m excited to identify the next leader for our men’s basketball program.
Winthrop AD Ken Halpin
Interest in Kelsey, the former Xavier and Wake Forest assistant, wasn’t unexpected. He was involved in job searches last offseason - with varying degrees of seriousness - at James Madison and Wright State.
UMass plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. KenPom.com rated the A-10 as the eighth best conference in the country, while the Big South, Winthrop’s league, was ranked 27th out of 32. Kelsey competed in the A-10 in the late 1990s as a Xavier basketball player.
Kellogg coached UMass for nine seasons. The Minutemen won 20-plus games in three straight seasons under him before a u-turn toward consecutive losing seasons, the latest of which resulted in Kellogg’s termination earlier this month.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported UMass also considered Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley and Boston Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry.
Bret McCormick: 803-329-4032
Prosser interested in Winthrop head job
Winthrop athletic director Ken Halpin is looking for a new basketball coach and should have an in-house candidate. Assistant coach Mark Prosser said in a text message Tuesday that Rock Hill is where he wants to be, that he’s interested in succeeding Pat Kelsey.
“Going to do everything in my power to continue to Rock the Hill,” Prosser said in the message. “I feel like we’re just scratching the surface!”
Prosser, officially Winthrop’s associate head coach, flirted with job openings last season, interviewing at Dartmouth. He’s been at Winthrop for five years, arriving with Kelsey, who was hired Tuesday by UMass. Prosser previously was the head coach at Brevard College (N.C.), worked nine total years as an assistant at Bucknell and Wofford.
Prosser’s fellow assistant coach, Brian Kloman, confirmed Tuesday night that he’s headed to UMass with Kelsey.