WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW women’s basketball assistant coach Matt Lynch was recently named to Forbes 30 under 30 in sports alongside other sports celebrities like NBA star Ben Simmons and NFL receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
“I didn’t even know,” said Lynch. “I hadn’t been on my phone or checking my email. I got a phone call from a family friend and they were like, ‘congratulations!’ I was like, hey I appreciate it, but for what?”
In April of 2020 Lynch revealed he was gay through an essay published at Outsports.com and since has tried to become a role model for those in sports struggling to come out.
“I need to be visible in order for other people to see that you can do anything you put your mind to. Because they are great people out there that can help you,” said Lynch. Since coming out, Lynch says he’s heard from other coaches from across the county who were seeking advice.
“Division one guys, whether it be a coach or a support staff person,” said Lynch. “Other people in college athletics that are outside of the coaching realm. A couple student athletes. Everybody’s story is different; everyone’s journey takes their own time. I want to be your friend and an ear for those people.”
Seahawk head coach Karen Barefoot says it’s an honor well deserved for her assistant.
“More importantly, it’s what he does and how he does things,” says Barefoot. “Being around him, he’s done so many great things for the program. I’m looking forward every day to coming in because he finds the joy in everything.”
Lynch says that he’s looking forward to basketball post-COVID-19, because he’d like to host a pride game or event to increase the visibility and support for the LGBTQIA+ community.