Division I college basketball coach Matt Lynch thought he’d carry the secret that he is gay to the grave. But as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, Lynch knew he couldn’t “die with the lie.”
Lynch came out publicly in an op-ed published on OutSports and the tale of his journey from high school athlete to one of the few out basketball coaches is one almost every gay man can relate to.
“This is a scary time for everyone and the unknown is always difficult to deal with. But I have made a decision to use this time to become completely open and honest with myself and the people around me,” Lynch wrote. “I’m gay.”
He recounts that a former coach inspired him to want to help other players, but the one person he couldn’t help was himself. He threw himself into his work, using the relationship with the players as a shield for his emotions and fear of losing his job as an excuse to bury his sexuality.
“When other coaches on the staff would go home at night to their wife and kids, I would stay at the office. I would keep working, keep learning,” he wrote. “This helped my career, but I didn’t realize the negative effects it would have on my mental health.”
“Growing up I would look for role models in the coaching profession,” he wrote after recounting the first times he came out to co-workers and players. “They weren’t there, at least publicly. It’s important that I try and share my story and do my part to help normalize being gay. The goal isn’t to come out of the closet, it’s to eliminate the closet.”
“I don’t know if I will be able to get another college basketball job as an openly gay coach, but I refuse to take any job where I am not my authentic self. I refuse to die with the lie.”