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Pat Kelsey Departs

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Kelsey in action at Wake
Xavier Associate Head Coach Pat Kelsey appeared to be on the fast track to the top. An undergraduate guard, first at Wyoming and later at Xavier, Kelsey came into his own as a coach. Starting at his alma mater, Elder, and later at both Wake Forest and Xavier, Kelsey developed a reputation as a tremendous recruiter (landing Ish Smith, James Johnson, and Al-Farouq Aminu for Wake) and game planner. Kelsey joined Chris Mack at Xavier when Mack was hired and had quickly become a key part of the staff.

Today, somewhat shockingly, Pat Kelsey abruptly halted that upward trajectory in the form of a brief statement. "Four years ago, I witnessed first-hand Coach (Skip) Prosser's death in the basketball office at Wake Forest. That day, my perspective on the profession and life was forever altered. My role as a father and husband is everything to me and the rigors of this business can make that challenging. My family and my health come first. I have allowed time to pass following the season to be sure of my decision. I am currently evaluating opportunities outside of coaching"

What exactly that means for Kelsey is hard to say. Sadly, and somewhat callously, it's what it means for Xavier that we are forced to focus on. First, it seems almost certain that this decision was something of a surprise to the Xavier office. It's hard to imagine Brian Thornton taking an assistant job at Furman if he knew one would be opening at Xavier. Thornton is also on the fast track to the top, and would have been nice to simply promote.

Secondly, Xavier's main recruit for next season, Dez Wells, was landed by Kelsey. While that certainly augurs well for Wells going forward, it does remove from Xavier's staff the man with whom he was most familiar. If Kelsey were leaving XU to land somewhere else, it would be a cause for great concern. As things stand now, look for Wells to stay put and Coach Mack to take his time replacing one of the good guys in the game.