POSTED: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 2:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Winthrop University's Eagles went on the road Tuesday to play highly ranked Ohio State.
After the game an emotional Coach Pat Kelsey used the opportunity to express his feelings about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
"The last thing I wanna say is I'm really, really lucky, because I'm gonna get on an eight-hour bus ride, and I'm going to arrive in Rock Hill, S.C., and I'm going to walk into my house, and I'm going to walk upstairs, and I'm going to walk into two pink rooms, with a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old laying in that pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room, and I'm going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I've ever given them. And there's 20 families in Newport, 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.
"And I don't know what needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done, OK? I know this country's got issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact, the understanding, that decent human values are important?" he added.
"And our leaders - 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. Boehner, the Speaker of the House, he's a Xavier guy, he's a Cincinnati guy, OK, he needs to step up," Kelsey went on to say. "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."
"I'm proud to grow up American. I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever. And that's got to stay that way. And it'll stay that way if we change. But we gotta change," Kelsey concluded.