WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In 2017, Matt Lynch was hired as the video coordinator for the UNCW men’s basketball team and over the next three years, he’d work his way up to assistant coach.
All the time keeping a secret that only his immediate family knew—he is gay.
Lynch says that he has always known that he’s gay, but at the age of 29-years-old, he finally decided to come out.
“It was just something that was kind of coming to a point that I couldn’t keep it in anymore,” said Lynch. “I decided it was time to tell that side of my life and move forward from it.”
The first person that Lynch told was Rob Burke.
Burke and Lynch were both hired at UNCW at the same time and worked countless hours together on recruiting until Burke was named the interim head coach of the Seahawks after C.B. McGrath was fired.
“It kind of felt right and, to be honest, I think he (Burke) knew,” said Lynch. “We spent lots of time in social settings. If we had a post-win beer, or something like that, and we have an attractive waitress who might show interest towards me, he could never understand why I wasn’t showing any interest back. Eventually, I told him, and he’s been my biggest advocate.”
“One night he (Lynch) kind of just gave me his phone and he had a whole paragraph written out that he had talked about and I read it,” added Burke. “I just got up and gave him a big hug, to be honest with you. For him to share that part of his life with me is special.”
Keeping the secret of being gay wasn’t easy for Lynch working in college basketball.
“Getting asked if you have a girlfriend or are you married? It’s automatically assumed you are straight,” said Lynch. “Those questions got old fast because I chose to lie about it.”
Now Lynch hopes that his story will help others realize that they aren’t alone.
“I might be one of the only out ones, maybe the only out one in college basketball,” said Lynch. “But, there are other guys there. There’s been plenty of texts and emails and phone calls from other college coaches. Whether they’re assistance ops guys, it doesn’t matter. They will say, ‘me too, I understand’.”
“It’s been amazing to me for him to share how many people have reached out to him in our business that are gay and have not come out and shared that. The numbers that he told me, the messages he showed me, were just astronomical.”
Lynch wasn’t retained when new UNCW head coach Takayo Siddle was hired and is currently looking for his next coaching job. But says that his ultimate goal is to be the head coach at UNCW.