Winthrop Names Pat Kelsey Head Men's Basketball Coach
Kelsey, a former Xavier team captain spent eight seasons at Wake Forest (2001-09) under the late Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio and two years on the staff at Xavier (2009-11) under Chris Mack.
"We were fortunate to have a large group of highly qualified and successful coaches in the candidate pool for our head men's basketball coach," said Hickman. "Our vacancy created a lot of interest in the basketball coaching community. Pat Kelsey emerged as a dynamic and energetic leader who has had a rich background in working for and learning from highly successful coaches. President DiGiorgio and I were highly impressed with all of our final candidates, but Pat really stood out during the interview process. We look forward to having him join the Winthrop family as our next head men's basketball coach and know that he will excite our fan base."
Kelsey says he is thrilled and honored to be the head coach at Winthrop and part of such a traditionally rich program that has made nine NCAA tournament appearances over the past 14 years.
"Winthrop has a powerful name with its history in the NCAA tournament and the successful program it has built. I am not only looking forward to continuing the winning tradition, but hopefully helping the program to rise to levels never seen before."
"Winthrop has hit a grand slam with Pat Kelsey as its head coach," said Mack. "Pat is really good at what he does and he's as hard a working and dedicated coach as there is in college basketball. Kids will love playing for him."
Mike Bobinski, the Xavier athletic director and vice chairman for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Selection Committee, also has high words of praise for Kelsey.
"Pat is a very dynamic coach who has been around nothing but success as a player and a coach at both Wake Forest and Xavier. He knows what it takes to win. He's a high energy, high integrity person who leaves no stone untouched to get the job done right. Winthrop has made a great choice and he's a guy that will represent the university in an absolute first class manner every day. I look forward to following his success," he said.
Winthrop fans can look for their new coach to feature a fast paced offense, but they can also expect Kelsey to place a strong emphasis on defense.
"My mentor, Coach Prosser who I played and worked under for more than a decade was famous for saying 'the older I get the faster I want to play.' I think that applies to me a little bit. Our brand offensively will be one that emphasizes playing with 'pace'.
"We will be a tough, defensive-minded team that will play with a fast, 'downhill' offensive mentality. That is who we will be" said Kelsey. "We will push the ball, give our players freedom, but also execute in the half court.
"The thing that I think is most important in winning championships, however, is a team that can defend with great toughness, with great intensity and great resolve," he says. "The combination of these things is what defines me as a coach."
College Bound Hoops ranked Kelsey eighth in the nation among college basketball assistants. In addition to his recruiting prowess, Kelsey is also recognized as an excellent teacher and tactician in terms of player development, scouting and game preparation.
Kelsey also earned a reputation as an innovative marketer during his time in Winston-Salem. He worked with current XU head coach and former Wake assistant Chris Mack and Wake marketing to produce the "Tie-Dye Nation" campaign, which still thrives today as the heartbeat of the Wake Forest fan base.
Kelsey began his coaching career at his prep alma mater, Cincinnati's Elder High School, from 1998-2001 as an assistant coach. Kelsey went to Wake Forest in 2001 as director of basketball operations under Prosser. After three years that position, Prosser promoted Kelsey to assistant coach prior to the 2004-05 season.
During his time in Winston-Salem, Wake averaged nearly 21 wins per year in eight seasons, earning five NCAA Tournament berths, an NIT berth, a No. 1 national ranking in two different seasons and an ACC regular season championship.
Last May, Kelsey stepped away from the coaching profession as he was still dealing with the loss of Coach Prosser and he wanted to spend more time with his family.
"The death of Coach Prosser had a profound effect on me and it took stepping away to come to grips with it," he says. "I'm a teacher, a motivator and a coach and I feel like I do those things at a very high level. Coach Prosser's legacy will live on in people like me who will instill in young men the same core values that he conveyed every day. The pillars of his program were based on his 'ABCs.' That was academics, basketball and character. These three letters were the fabric of what he taught and what he believed in."
He was first associated with Prosser as a leader in the Xavier backcourt for three seasons (1996 to 1998), helping the Musketeers reach two NCAA Tournaments. The former point guard served as team co-captain during the 1997-98 season and was voted the team's Most Inspirational Player in 1996 and 1998. Kelsey began his college playing career at Wyoming in 1993-94, starting 22 games as a freshman, before transferring back to his hometown to play at Xavier. Prior to college, he earned All-City honors while leading Elder to a 25-4 record and the 1993 Div. I State Championship.
Kelsey, who was born May 15, 1975 in Cincinnati, is a 1998 graduate of Xavier with a degree in business administration and marketing. Kelsey and wife, Lisa, have two daughters, four-year-old Ruthie and three-year old Caroline.
ROCK HILL, S.C.-- Winthrop Athletic Director Tom Hickman announced on Thursday that 36-year-old Pat Kelsey, a former assistant coach at Wake Forest and an associate head coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati, has been hired as the sixth men's basketball head coach in school history. He will be formally introduced to the media and Winthrop supporters sometime next week.