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After 1st Coach Backs Out, UMass Has 2nd Pick Sign Stricter Agreement

A promotional graphic used by UMass in the two days between Pat Kelsey agreeing to become the new head basketball coach -- and when he backed out of the deal.
Screen Shot
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Email from UMass Athletics
A promotional graphic used by UMass in the two days between Pat Kelsey agreeing to become the new head basketball coach -- and when he backed out of the deal.

UMass officials seem to have a learned a lesson, after the school's first choice for men's basketball coach backed out of his deal.

Shortly before his introductory press conference last month, coach Pat Kelsey told UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford that he'd changed his mind and didn't want the job.

That evening, a clearly distraught Bamford told reporters that Kelsey had signed a memorandum of understanding -- essentially a pre-contract -- and might owe UMass a lot of money for backing out of the deal.

"For the first two years of the execution, it was a million dollar buyout," Bamford said.

But it really wasn't that clear-cut.

A copy of the agreement obtained through a public records request shows the deal wasn't set to begin until April 1.

Kelsey quit nine days before then.  

A section of Pat Kelsey's memorandum of understanding with UMass.
Credit PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST / UMASS AMHERST
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UMASS AMHERST
A section of Pat Kelsey's memorandum of understanding with UMass.

Bamford declined to comment for this story, but UMass appears to have learned from the Kelsey affair. A week later, when UMass had Chattanoga Coach Matt McCall sign a memorandum of understanding, it used different language, so the buyout clause would begin immediately. 

A section of Matt McCall's memorandum of understanding with UMass.
Credit PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST / UMASS AMHERST
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UMASS AMHERST
A section of Matt McCall's memorandum of understanding with UMass.

Sam has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He oversees a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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