Two days after agreeing to leave Winthrop and become the new coach at UMass, Pat Kelsey had a change of heart Thursday, backing out of his new job minutes before his introductory news conference.
”For personal reasons, I have asked the University of Massachusetts to allow me to be released from the offer I accepted to be the head men’s basketball coach," Kelsey said in a statement released by the school. "To be clear, this decision is entirely personal and in no way an assessment of the commitment UMass made to me personally or to the resources available at UMass to have a nationally-recognized program."
ESPN first reported Kelsey had had a change of heart, and Sports Illustrated said he planned to head back to Winthrop after he "realized UMass wasn't the place for him."
This guy called me n text me happy birthday and told me he wanted to make me proud as well as the school, now I'm hearing this smh
— Marcus Camby (@MarcusCamby23) March 23, 2017
Kelsey initially took the UMass job Tuesday following five seasons at Winthrop. He compiled a 102-59 record there, including a 26-7 mark this season as he led the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.
His resurrection of the Winthrop program made him a hot commodity on the coaching carousel, and the relatively low-profile nature of the UMass job made his move there a surprise.
It's unclear if he'll actually return to Winthrop or potentially head somewhere else.
"It's my impression that he's going back to Winthrop." - Bamford who said he didn't think it was his place to speculate on other openings
— Matt Vautour (@MattVautourDHG) March 23, 2017
Even if Kelsey isn't a candidate for the newly open Georgetown job, the ripple effect of high-profile openings like that and Indiana being filled could land the former Xavier and Wake Forest assistant coach in a better spot.