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Winthrop men’s basketball coach calls for change in wake of Newtown shooting

“I know this microphone’s powerful because we’re playing the (seventh) best team in the country. I’m not going to have a microphone like this the rest of this year, maybe the rest of my life.”

Following his team’s 65-55 loss to the Ohio State men’s basketball team, Winthrop men’s basketball coach Pat Kelsey used the Schottenstein Center microphone in his postgame press conference to address Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and deliver an impassioned speech in which he called for change in America.

On Friday, 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, four times in the head before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown where he used several weapons to kill 26 more people and then himself, according to reports. Each victim at the elementary school was shot multiple times, according to reports, and 20 of the deaths were students aged 6 or 7.

Kelsey passed on the opportunity to address the shooting on Saturday after his Eagles upset Ohio University, a Sweet Sixteen participant in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, choosing instead to speak his mind on OSU’s campus.

A father of 5-year-old and 4-year-old girls, Kelsey did not advocate for a specific governmental action and even said, “I’m not smart enough to know what needs to be done.”

Clearly, Kelsey has seen and heard enough of Friday’s violence to know that something needs to change.

“I didn’t vote for President (Barack) Obama, OK, but he’s my president now. He’s my leader. I need him to step up,” Kelsey said. “(Speaker of the House John) Boehner … he needs to step up. Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches – everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change.”

Kelsey pledged to use his position as a coach and father to make a difference.

“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,” he said, “but hopefully things start changing because it’s really, really disappointing.”

Evan Speyer contributed to this story.

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