Pat Kelsey Asks for Release from UMass Contract Day After Being Announced as HC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 16:  Head coach Pat Kelsey of the Winthrop Eagles looks on in the first half against the Butler Bulldogs during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Pat Kelsey won't be the head coach at UMass after all.

According to ESPN.com, Kelsey—who coached Winthrop the last five seasons—asked to be released from his contract Thursday. Winthrop announced Kelsey will remain the team's head coach later in the day.

ESPN.com noted UMass announced his hiring Wednesday.

"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, per ESPN.com. "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."

UMass athletics director Ryan Bamford responded with a statement, per ESPN.com: "Again, his reasons were personal in nature. I know that the unforeseen circumstances surrounding his decision were not in our control." 

Minutemen forward Zach Coleman and guard DeJon Jarreau responded to the change of circumstances on Twitter:

Kelsey led the Eagles to a 26-7 record and an NCAA tournament appearance this season.

As for UMass, this is another blow in a difficult stretch. The Minutemen were just 15-18 in 2016-17 and made the NCAA tournament one time during head coach Derek Kellogg's nine seasons at the helm before he was fired.

UMass made the Big Dance seven seasons in a row from 1992-98 and even reached the Final Four under John Calipari in 1995 but has struggled to maintain its competitive status in the college basketball world.

Bamford was looking forward to better days Thursday when he said, "At this time, we will resume our search for the next leader of our program," per ESPN.com. "I am confident that we will hire a remarkable coach who will return our program to national prominence."

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