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UNC-Wilmington Basketball Coach Matt Lynch comes Out

It’s been a little over two weeks since our staff was officially let go at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. And with the added difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have begun to realize that I may not have a job in college basketball next year.

I have sat on a college basketball bench for the last 10 years. I’ve coached at the Division II level and in Division I women’s basketball, but the bulk of my experience comes from coaching Division I men’s basketball.

This is a scary time for everyone and the unknown is always difficult to deal with. But I have made a decision to use this time to become completely open and honest with myself and the people around me.

I’m gay.

Those are two words that 10 years ago I wasn’t sure I was ever going to admit, let alone say out loud. I always thought I would “die with the lie.” That is how I approached so much of my life, to keep it a secret, to never let anyone know that side of me, to hide and bury all those feelings.

That was my plan. I threw myself into my career. I worked hard to climb the ladder, learning as much as I could as quickly as I could. And always looking for the next opportunity. From my alma mater Edinboro University in Pennsylvania to Miami (Ohio). Then from Miami to Youngstown State and finally to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Each stop taught me more and more, and the crazy thing about it was it never felt like work. I am 29 years old, and I haven’t “worked” a day in my life.

I learned at a young age that life is about people and the relationships you build with them. I got into coaching because of my high school coach. He was also one of the more popular teachers at my school because he was younger and could relate to the students.

We would work hard in his class, but he always found ways to have fun, and make us laugh. He gave me an opportunity when it came to basketball and pushed me to be better than what I thought I was capable of being. He was the first person outside of my parents who saw potential in me.

Because of my experiences with him and my teammates, I became hooked on the idea of becoming a coach. I wanted to find ways to impact other people’s lives the way that my coach impacted me. After all, I have come to understand what the definition of “coach” really means: to move a person or object from one point to another — move your players forward and make them better.

So as I chased the dream of becoming a basketball coach, I found myself getting lost in my work. I didn’t think about being gay or that part of me as much. I didn’t date, I didn’t talk about it, and it got to the point that I almost began to believe that I could shut that side of my life “off.”

I became very good at what I do. When other coaches on the staff would go home at night to their wife and kids, I would stay at the office. I would keep working, keep learning. This helped my career, but I didn’t realize the negative effects it would have on my mental health.

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by Anonymousreply 5005/22/2020

Telling my players was always something I struggled with, not because I didn’t think they would support me, but because I didn’t want our relationship to change. I didn’t want to be known as the “Gay Basketball Coach.”

I was taking one of my UNCW guys out to dinner and I sent him a text before we went and said that we needed to talk about some “real life sh*t.” Over the years, this player and I grew very close and we constantly talked about changing the direction of the program, and hanging an NCAA Tournament banner. So I was nervous to tell him, because this player was very important to me.

We had some small talk for a while and then I got to the point and just came out with it: “I’m gay.” At first, he just looked at me, then he said “you’re lying” about five times. Once I assured him that it was true, he replied that it didn’t change anything, and that he was rocking with me no matter what, brothers for life.

You really do get a “coming out high” after you tell someone. Immediately after that he grew quiet and as he digested it he became more and more comfortable with the idea. Then the questions came. I don’t know how everyone feels about it, but I don’t mind the questions, it helps me to talk about it sometimes. You really do get a “coming out high” after you tell someone. He has since jokingly asked me if I have a “baby boy” in my life, and we both laugh.

Each player’s reaction has been a little different, but all of them have been positive.

One of my guys was playing overseas when I told him and he called me immediately and was excited. He too started asking me question after question, and wanted specifics. He then spent an hour explaining to me how this makes me even more marketable and how it is such an advantage in the coaching profession. An advantage? Are you crazy? It was the first time in my life that I had heard someone call my biggest secret an advantage. It was just refreshing to hear how positive he was about it. The relationships with my players have changed, but change isn’t necessarily bad and I feel it has just brought us all closer.

I think it’s important for me to be publicly out. Not only for me and my mental health, but for anyone else out there like me.

The goal isn’t to come out of the closet, it’s to eliminate the closet. Growing up I would look for role models in the coaching profession. They weren’t there, at least publicly. It’s important that I try and share my story and do my part to help normalize being gay. The goal isn’t to come out of the closet, it’s to eliminate the closet. I look forward to the day when “coming out” and having to make an announcement, is just a thing of the past.

Back to the now. I am probably a little crazy to decide to make this so public with everything else that is going on (like being unemployed, or a worldwide pandemic or a hiring freeze throughout the coaching profession).

But I wanted to try and find a way use a negative time for something positive. I don’t know if I will be able to get another college basketball job as an openly gay coach, but I refuse to take any job where I am not my authentic self. I refuse to die with the lie.

Matt Lynch, 29, is a college basketball coach with 10 years of experience. He most recently served as an assistant coach and director of basketball operations at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A coaching change in March 2020 has him currently looking at new career opportunities. He graduated from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania in 2013 with a degree in Health and Education. After graduation he was hired at Miami University of Ohio, where he went on to earn a master’s degree in Sports Psychology. He can be reached on Instagram and Twitter or by email (coachlynch5@gmail.com).

Story editor: Jim Buzinski

by Anonymousreply 104/03/2020

I'd climb that tree if given the chance.

by Anonymousreply 204/03/2020

Meh.

His brother's hotter.

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by Anonymousreply 304/03/2020

Good on him!

Really powerful story.

Yes guys of DL, am not gay, but gay-adjacent: many of nearest and dearest are gay. Learned a great deal from them and from The Datalounge.

by Anonymousreply 404/03/2020

Hi, R4. Thank you for your post.

by Anonymousreply 504/03/2020

[quote]I have begun to realize that I may not have a job in college basketball next year.

Now he DEFINITELY won't.

by Anonymousreply 604/03/2020

Is this why coach hates zone defense and always wants us to play man-on-man D?

by Anonymousreply 704/03/2020

Pleasure, R6. And I do appreciate DL for the opportunity to “stand in another’s shoes”. I would have likely not come across this article as it would have been drowned out with all the other news at the moment....if not for DL.

[quote] Now he DEFINITELY won't (have a job)

This may be the case, R6, but personally, hope this is an instance where you might be wrong. Things are changing so rapidly now, and “norms” that were once considered normal are shifting.....quickly. This coach could be courageous enough to be setting an example?

Time will tell.

by Anonymousreply 804/03/2020

He's got nice arms and legs.

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by Anonymousreply 904/03/2020

Coach Lynch: OK, I want you guys to practice the pick and roll for me now.

Players: But coach, we're not even on the court..

by Anonymousreply 1004/03/2020

Hopefully the day will arrive soon when someone like him won't need to announce that he's gay, as if he's announcing that he's dying of a disease., or worry abut how he will be accepted by the players and other coaches. But, with the thread about the teacher in Texas who was fired after he told his students he was gay, it will be a while.

by Anonymousreply 1104/03/2020

Cute guy. He looks a little like Harris Dickinson.

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by Anonymousreply 1204/03/2020

He seems awfully young to be a head coach.

by Anonymousreply 1304/03/2020

Good for him. That does take courage, he is young and has a lot of his life ahead of him and he chose to do this now instead of waiting until much later in his career.

I hope he gets another great coaching job and he can be an inspiration to those coming up after him.

by Anonymousreply 1404/03/2020

I bet he has basketball slang for the bedroom -- the alley oop, the slam dunk!

by Anonymousreply 1504/03/2020

Any online nudes?

by Anonymousreply 1604/03/2020

So cool bruh

by Anonymousreply 1704/03/2020

Stop with the stupid puns. And other gay/basketball jokes

You sounds like a bunch of immature homophobes from back in the 70s.

This is something to be celebrated, not mocked.

by Anonymousreply 1804/03/2020

I agree. These ignorant jokes are sick

by Anonymousreply 1904/03/2020

R18, R19 get over yourselves.

by Anonymousreply 2004/03/2020

It’s the old school effeminates making those tired 1968 jokes. They are jealous when gay dudes excel in and are excepted in team sports.

by Anonymousreply 2104/03/2020

"excepted in team sports"

by Anonymousreply 2204/03/2020

R21, you type stupid and offended. Let me guess, you're a 20something? And if you think those common basketball terms are from the 1960s and 70s, you're probably the one who is more effeminate than a Rupaul's Drag Race convention.

by Anonymousreply 2304/03/2020

huh? I didn’t make that comment about the terms being old, but your attempted joke sure was ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 2404/03/2020

R24, not possibly as ignorant as mixing up accepted and excepted. Doh!

by Anonymousreply 2504/03/2020

I’ve met this guy before (not in a salacious context at all). All I can remember is that he was extremely nice and well spoken. I’m glad he feels comfortable enough to be out and live his life.

by Anonymousreply 2604/03/2020

Cool

by Anonymousreply 2704/03/2020

27 posts and no one has asked if he’s a top or a bottom? What the hell is going on here? At least R16 somewhat redeemed our reputation by seeking his nudes.

by Anonymousreply 2804/03/2020

We aren’t Vulgar idiots r28

by Anonymousreply 2904/03/2020

Fit masc top with big dick face that’s into sports??? Sign me up!! R13 He was an assistant coach. There is a head coach in the wnba (Curt Miller)that is gay and out , but he is fug.

by Anonymousreply 3004/03/2020

Oh dear, DL's dudebro is upset with us. Again.

by Anonymousreply 3104/03/2020

“Oh dear?” You must be really ancient.

by Anonymousreply 3204/03/2020

We can't all type in masc, mainstream AAVE like you. But show us the way, bruh.

by Anonymousreply 3304/03/2020

R31, he can't be much of an authentic dudebro if he mistakes common basketball terminology for obsolete terms from the 1960s. He's probably never played a sport in his life. More like a poseur. Just sayin'.

by Anonymousreply 3404/03/2020

[QUOTE] We aren’t Vulgar idiots R28

Uhh, are you aware that I can see your post history?

[QUOTE] Swede Oliver Forslin 💪🏽

[QUOTE]I would drink his bathwater

by Anonymousreply 3504/03/2020

Nah, he's a veritable MUSCLE STUD, R34. Found him on TikTok, where all the aesthetics bros hang out and compliment each other.

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by Anonymousreply 3604/03/2020

The coach does look very young, very18-ish. He’s also very cute.

by Anonymousreply 3704/03/2020

UNC-W has a fairly successful Division I basketball program. It occasionally is in the NCAA tournament

by Anonymousreply 3804/03/2020

Is he a top or bottom though, R38?

by Anonymousreply 3904/03/2020

Courage is extremely rare these days. This coach is to be admired. Good job!

by Anonymousreply 4004/03/2020

Bossy bottom.

by Anonymousreply 4104/03/2020

He is a top.

by Anonymousreply 4204/03/2020

Cut or uncut?

by Anonymousreply 4304/03/2020

Is there any video of him speaking? That would be interesting.

by Anonymousreply 4404/04/2020

This is wonderful news, and this young man is a great example to us all. Congratulations!

by Anonymousreply 4504/04/2020

is the feeling of losing everything financially the same as one's plane is falling off the sky? Something needs to be lifted off one's chest?

Bless your heart! Now please share hot photos from the locker room, Matt.

by Anonymousreply 4604/04/2020

More openly bi and gay men in team sports is one of the most important factors in attaining Social acceptance of gay men. Men in particular respect Men who excel in athletics.

by Anonymousreply 4704/04/2020

Bump

by Anonymousreply 4805/22/2020

He exudes “pass around bottom.”

by Anonymousreply 4905/22/2020

Meh he's fuggo.

by Anonymousreply 5005/22/2020
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