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By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE:to listen to Pat Kelsey's passionate remarks**
The world changed for all of us Friday morning. I know mine did. As a parent of a 9 year-old girl and a 7-year old boy, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has affected me more than any event since September 11, 2001.
They also affected Pat Kelsey. He's a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Xavier University. He is now the head basketball coach at Winthrop and the father of two girls. Following the Eagles 65-55 loss to the Buckeyes Tuesday night and after taking questions about the game, Kelsey asked if he could say something else. What followed was an emotional outpouring.
Winthrop has been on the road since Friday's shootings, playing at Ohio University Saturday and then Ohio State Tuesday so when Kelsey returns home, he'll be with his children for the first time since the tradgedy.
"I'm going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I've ever given them and there's 20 families in (Newtown) Connecticut that are walking into a pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears, with nobody laying in those beds and it's tragic," Kelsey said. "I don't know what needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done...Is it a gun issue, is it a mental illness issue or is it a society that has lost the understanding that decent human values are important? I didn't vote for President Obama but you know what? He's my President now, he's my leader. I need him to step up. Mr. (John) Boehner, the speaker of the house, he's a Xavier guy, he's a Cincinnati guy. He needs to step up. Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change."
Kelsey's voice shook during his 90 speech that captured the way many of us are feeling.
"I know this microphone is 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 and maybe the rest of my life and I'm going to be an agent of change for the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little that I get to raise but hopefully things start changing because it's really, really disappointing," Kelsey said. "I'm proud to grow up American. I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever and it's got to stay that way and it'll stay that way if we change...but we have to change."
I could not have said it any better myself. I didn't know anything about Pat Kelsey before Tuesday night. But now I'm a fan.