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How NBA Hall of Famer Rick Welts inspired gay basketball coach Matt Lynch

Letter to an LGBTQ role model: After coming out as gay, coach Matt Lynch connected with Rick Welts, who has become an inspiration.

In honor of Pride Month, Outsports is asking LGBTQ people in sports to write a letter to a role model. The only criteria is that the role model identifies as LGBTQ. Today, basketball coach Matt Lynch writes to longtime NBA executive Rick Welts, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Dear Rick,

I wanted to address this note to Mr. Welts, but we’ve been down that road before. I’d like to say thank you, but often that doesn’t feel like enough. You have proven that you can be ELITE and AUTHENTIC in sports.

Ten years ago I would not imagined being “out,” let alone in contact with the man who created All-Star Weekend and built the Warriors into a dynasty. In learning more about your story, you have helped me to keep going.

I have found myself feeling “stuck” lately. It’s happened a few times over the course of this past year. It could be because I moved from the beach to the country for my new coaching job, which has been a bit of a culture shock, or because I miss my Pops. He was often the one I turned to for guidance or when I needed a push. It’s been tough without him, but I know he’s with me every day in spirit.

Getting the opportunity to speak with you means more than I can put into words. It helped reignite a flame that was burning low. You’ve been where I’ve been and you’ve figured it out. Thank you for making it.

Rick Welts, shown in 2019 while president of the Golden State Warriors.
Rick Welts, shown in 2019 while president of the Golden State Warriors.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If it hasn’t hit you by now, I’m somewhat of a mover and shaker. I move things from what they are to what they can be. Some people love that, but I am also very aware that I am not for everyone. I saw something the other day that said, “Humble enough to lose it all. Confident enough to know I can get it all back.” I felt that.

Thank you for showing me that someone like “us” can excel in the world of basketball.

Sincerely,
Matt

Matt Lynch is an assistant college basketball coach for Chowan University entering his second season. He can be reached on Instagram and Twitter or by email (coachlynch5@gmail.com).

Read Matt Lynch on finding the joy in coaching.

If you want to write a letter to an LGBTQ role model, drop us a message at outsports@gmail.com or direct message Twitter or Instagram (@outsports).