College basketball coaches use postgame press conferences to speak about U.S. gun culture

Updated
Winthrop University head basketball coach Pat Kelsey and Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim
Winthrop University head basketball coach Pat Kelsey and Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim
Jeffrey Collins/AP Photo; Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim became the third Division I men’s coach to reach 900 wins Monday night. Instead of celebrating, he used his postgame press conference to urge the nation to re-assess its current gun culture.”

If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society,” Boeheim said Monday night. “If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots–this is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of our faults if we don’t get out and do something about this.”

The father of four insisted a change be made quickly. “I’m with the Mayor of New York City, if we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have. This is about us,” pleaded Boeheim. “This isn’t about the president or those other people down there. We need to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now.”

The following day, Winthrop Coach Pat Kelsey followed Coach Boeheim’s steps and used his airtime to respond to last Friday’s school shootings in Newtown, CT. Although the first-year Winthrop coach lost that night to Ohio State, Kelsey asked  everyone at his press conference to sit back down for one final thought.

“I’m really lucky…I’m going to walk into my house, I’m gonna go upstairs, and I’m gonna walk into two pink rooms, ok? With a five-year-old and a four-year-old laying in that pink room with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room. And I’m gonna give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I’ve ever given them. And there’s 20 families in 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 acknowledged that he was going to use that time and podium to press our political leaders “to be an agent of change” following the deaths of 20 children and six adults.

“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 that 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. I’m proud to grow up American, I’m proud to say I’m part of the greatest country ever. And it’s gotta stay that way. And it’s gonna stay that way if we change–but we gotta change.


A Cincinnati native and Xavier alumnus, Coach Kelsey called on President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner to “step up.” Coach Pat Kelsey will join msnbc’s “The Last Word” Wednesday night at 10pm ET.

College basketball coaches use postgame press conferences to speak about U.S. gun culture

Updated