Winthrop's coach still fighting for awareness - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Winthrop's coach still fighting for awareness after Sandy Hook comments

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- When Winthrop head basketball coach Pat Kelsey takes the court Wednesday night against Charleston Southern at the BucDome, he may be the smallest guy in the gym.

Far from imposing in stature, Kelsey is quite the opposite when it comes to the mark he's made putting himself and Winthrop on the map this year.

On the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Kelsey's Winthrop squad played at and lost to Ohio State. It wasn't what happened on the court that night that put Kelsey in the forefront; it was what he said at the end of his press conference in one of the most emotional and heartfelt moments of the college basketball season.

"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everyone needs to step up. This is a time for change," he said.

Kelsey's two minute speech hit a chord for many when he said how tragic it was that 20 families would never be able to go home and give their sons and daughters hugs and kisses like he was planning to do.

"I had no intention when I walked in that press conference to say what I said. It was divine intervention. I'm surely not that eloquent of a speaker. I spoke on behalf of a lot of people with what I said that night," said Kelsey Wednesday afternoon after Winthrop's shoot-around at the BucDome.

People heard Kelsey loud and clear when he said, "This microphone is powerful because we're playing the No. 4 team in America. I won't have a microphone this big all year, maybe the rest of my life," he said.  

What he said that night was plastered all over national TV, but Kelsey's flash of fame didn't end that night. He has continued to press on with his fight even in small gyms like the one he is coaching in Wednesday night.

"If we can all be what I call an agent of change in positions of leadership that we're in, we can make a small contribution to what we do better," he said.  

Kelsey is even going further than that. He has created T-shirts that Winthrop University is selling. One hundred percent of the proceeds of those shirts is going to families of the victims at Sandy Hook.

"Every American is looking for a way to contribute in some way, shape or form. I was just lucky that day that I had a microphone a lot of people don't have," he said.  

Two minutes of fame are still making a whole lot of difference.

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