Former Elder High School standout Pat Kelsey, who played and coached at Xavier University, led the 23-1 Winthrop University Eagles to an NCAA Tournament automatic bid with an 80-53 win Sunday against Campbell in the championship game of the Big South Tournament.
Winthrop also earned the conference's automatic bid last year, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled. The Eagles last played in the tournament in 2017, losing to Butler in the first round.
The school's only NCAA Tournament win came in 2007 as a No. 11 seed in the first round against Notre Dame.
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Kelsey, a state champion while at Elder, has been Winthrop's head coach since 2012. Before that, he spent three years as an associate head coach at Xavier with Chris Mack, and from 2001 to 2009 on Wake Forest's staff. He was an assistant coach at Elder from 1998 to 2001.
Kelsey reportedly turned down an offer in 2018 to become Siena's new head coach. Some expected Kelsey to replace John Brannen as Northern Kentucky University's head coach before Darrin Horn was hired.
Kelsey also was considered a candidate to replace Mack at Xavier before XU named Travis Steele its head coach.
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