Let go from his job amid the coronavirus crisis, one Division I men’s college basketball coach is using the time to be “completely open and honest” about himself.
Matthew Lynch, 29, who most recently served as assistant coach and director of basketball operations at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, came out publicly as gay in a piece published Friday by OutSports.
“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,” Lynch writes. “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.”
Inspired to enter the profession by his high school basketball coach, Lynch says he’s managed to get lost in his career, often at the expense of his mental health.
“During the last 10 years as I was working day and night to better the lives of the young people around me, I neglected to take care of one person: myself. I worked so hard to shut off that side of my life, that I built up a sort of self-homophobia,” he writes.
Finally, it became too much — and Lynch decided to come out to another coach who is a close friend. Over drinks, Lynch showed his friend a note he had written on his phone about being gay.
“He read it, smiled, got up and gave me a hug, then slapped me on my butt and said, “You probably like that don’t you?” We erupted in laughter,” Lynch writes, adding that he has also received support from players since coming out to them.
Now, Lynch says he wants to be the role model he never had.
“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,” he writes. “The goal isn’t to come out of the closet, it’s to eliminate the closet.”
Two weeks ago, Lynch was let go by UNC Wilmington due to a coaching change. He’s exploring new career opportunities, but acknowledges that coming out makes his future in college basketball less certain.
“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),” Lynch wrote. “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.”
Read Lynch’s full article here.