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Division I basketball coach sees profile raised since coming out as gay

Matt Lynch has found nothing but support since telling his story and is eager to share what he’s learned.

Matt Lynch, left, with a player from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he last coached.

Matt Lynch, a Division I men’s basketball coach who came out as openly gay last month, will be the guest on a livestream hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California, Thursday, May 7 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Lynch, 29, told his story about being gay in college basketball and the toll hiding took on him. He wrote that he didn’t want to “die with the lie” and that is the title of the livestream event. Here is a YouTube link to Matt’s talk.

The Commonwealth Club, founded in 1903, is considered the nation’s oldest public affairs forum, putting on 500 events a year and going remote during the coronavirus crisis.

The event with the Commonwealth Club shows how Lynch has seen his public profile raised since coming out. He has received a large amount of emails, texts and other messages. made media appearances, addressed a graduate class at the University of Mississippi and been a guest on podcasts.

I asked him to recount what the reaction has been to his story:

Since the article came out a little over a month ago, life has been interesting. I’m a big quote guy, and the “juice was definitely worth the squeeze.”

The article was published the morning of April 3, 2020, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive! Prior to it’s release, I decided to make the 12-hour drive from Wilmington, North Carolina, to my parents’ house in Erie, Pennsylvania. I figured that I would have some anxiety that would creep up when the article went live, and nothing relaxes me like the open road.

The tweet with the link to my story was set to go out at 8 a.m. My adrenaline was going as I was fixated on the clock. The tweet went out, and the texts and calls immediately followed, from friends, family, co-workers, people I haven’t connected with in years.

I was hopeful that people in my inner circle would back me up, I was counting on them. What I wasn’t ready for were the messages, emails, texts and support from people who I have never met. Basketball coaches from every level — from high school to the NBA — current athletes, and overwhelming support of people from the gay community.

People were reaching out and telling how my story resonated with them and that it “brought them to tears.” I wasn’t expecting that, I’m not sure why. Obviously, I have gone through tough times, but I didn’t stop to think that people could relate so easily to my story. My favorite part of the entire experience was getting to hear other people’s stories. I would receive long, detailed emails, and it really just put everything into perspective. We are more alike than we are different.

This experience has helped me connect with other coaches who can relate to my situation. Curt Miller from the Connecticut Sun and Sean Huiet from Texas State were among the first to reach out to me. I value those guys, they know what I am going through, and they have both persevered to the top of their respective sports. I want to follow in their footsteps, and forge a path in men’s college basketball. It won’t be easy, but nothing in life worth doing ever is.

It’s sort of ironic, I’ve never been interviewed in my life, and now in a little over a month, I have been asked to speak to multiple media outlets.

I’ve enjoyed getting to continue to tell my story, and I always try to make sure to talk about Outsports and the amazing platform it provides. I want to help. Everyone always asks, “How do you feel now that you have this giant weight off your shoulders?” and I think my answer catches people off guard. “About the same.”

I have been in lockdown since the article went out. I haven’t really had any face-to-face interactions with anyone outside my family members for the last six weeks. I look forward to quarantine being over so that I can get out there and continue to figure out who I really am. In the meantime, I’m just taking it day by day.

Matt Lynch can be reached on Instagram and Twitter or by email (coachlynch5@gmail.com).

If you’re an LGBTQ person in sports looking to connect with others in the community, head over to GO! Space to meet and interact with other LGBTQ athletes, or to Equality Coaching Alliance to find other coaches, administrators and other non-athletes in sports.