Winthrop University

Wright State interested in Winthrop’s Kelsey, but source says it’s a no-go

Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey is drawing interest for several coaching vacancies. The speculation fosters uncertainty but is a sign that schools nationwide are taking notice of the Eagles’ success the last three years.
Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey is drawing interest for several coaching vacancies. The speculation fosters uncertainty but is a sign that schools nationwide are taking notice of the Eagles’ success the last three years. bmccormick@heraldonline.com

James Madison isn’t the only school officially interested in Winthrop men’s basketball coach Pat Kelsey.

Eagles athletics director Tom Hickman said on Tuesday afternoon that Wright State had also contacted him to speak with Kelsey.

A media report had Kelsey interviewing with Wright State on Tuesday. A source close to the situation told The Herald that Kelsey spoke briefly with Wright State over a week ago, but that nothing had progressed beyond that. Wright State AD Bob Grant said on Tuesday he would not comment on the search.

Kelsey, who has coached the Eagles since 2013, winning 59 percent of his games, reportedly interviewed with James Madison last week.

Wright State fired six-year head coach Billy Donlon two weeks ago. He was 109-94 during his tenure in charge of the Raiders, after taking the head job when Brad Brownell was hired at Clemson.

Wright State competes in the challenging Horizon League and Donlon took his team to the conference tournament final three of the last four years, but lost each time. Grant cited the program’s failure to reach the NCAA tournament as one of the reasons for parting ways with Donlon.

Wright State is located in Dayton, about an hour northeast of Kelsey’s hometown, Cincinnati. Kelsey said last week when asked about the JMU opening that he wouldn’t comment on job speculation. He’s under contract at Winthrop through the 2019 season and has the bulk of a 23-win team returning in 2016-17.

A Dayton Daily News story from last Friday said seven coaches – including six current Division I coaches – had interviewed with Wright State’s Grant. No names were mentioned.

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