Half-Hour Before Big Event, Kelsey Backs Out Of UMass Coaching Job

Mar 23, 2017

Pat Kelsey has backed out of an agreement to take over the men's basketball program at UMass, citing personal reasons.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said Thursday that Kelsey asked to be let out of his contract that was signed Tuesday, making clear that it was for "very personal" reasons.

Kelsey said in a statement released by the university that he is sorry and felt welcome while on campus.

Kelsey was scheduled to meet with reporters on Thursday, but UMass abruptly canceled just before the press conference was set to begin.

Speaking to reporters later, Bamford was asked how bad of a setback this was for UMass as it continued to search for a coach.

"I'm going to tell you right now this is a great job and this is a great university. We are a top public research university. This is a wonderful athletic department. It's an unbelievable community," Bamford said. "We're going to go find somebody who wants to come here and return us to national prominence. There is no doubt in my mind. This is just a road bump for us."

In a statement, Kelsey said -- for personal reasons -- he was returning to his coaching job at Winthrop University in South Carolina. But according to Bamford, Kelsey may be on the hook for a million dollar buyout contained in the agreement he signed with UMass on Tuesday.

UMass fired Derek Kellogg after the Minutemen finished 15-18 this season. The team was 155-137 overall in nine seasons under Kellogg and just 67-83 in Atlantic 10 play.

New England Public Radio's newsroom contributed to this report.