Winthrop coach uses national spotlight to give emotional plea on Conn. shooting

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University’s basketball coach Pat Kelsey gave an emotional plea Tuesday on the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Kelsey called for change, pushing community leaders to make changes in gun and mental health issues in the emotional post-game interview Tuesday night. 

“Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change. And I know this microphone’s powerful right now, because we’re playing the fourth-best team in the country. I’m not going to have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life. And I’m going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise. But hopefully things start changing, because it’s really, really disappointing," Kelsey said in the post-game interview.

The plea came at the end of his press conference following the team’s loss against Ohio State.

The team arrived back in Rock Hill Wednesday morning and Kelsey spoke to Channel 9 about his comments and why he decided to open up at that moment.  He said he didn't expect such a widespread response from social media.

“It really had nothing to do with the basketball game, but it was a bigger thing, more about the game of life,” Kelsey said.  “Really it was just a dad concerned about the future of the society of that his little girls are going to grow up in, and I spoke what was in my heart.”

Kelsey said he chose to speak up since so many people were watching Ohio State, which is ranked in the top 10 in the nation.