Recently Out Coach Feels 'Happy,' Cites 'Newfound Confidence'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday January 15, 2021

Matt Lynch
Matt Lynch  (Source:Matt Lynch/Instagram)

Out Division One basketball coach Matt Lynch gave an update about his life post-coming out after he embraced authenticity last April, telling sports podcast The Sports Kiki that he's got a "newfound confidence" and, if anything, he wishes he'd come out sooner than he did.

Lynch was an assistant coach for the men's basketball team at UNC Wilmington. He had just come out to the team when he and all the rest of the coaching staff were laid off thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that, Lynch told The Sports Kiki's host, Alex Reimer, was just the start of a new and more fulfilling life. His sudden joblessness gave Lynch several months to take stock and grow into himself.

Saying that he now possesses "a newfound confidence," Lynch explained, "I have just this light about me when I walk into a room. I lift the mood of the entire room.... From a personal standpoint, I just feel happy."

The emotional and psychological uplift he's experienced now that he's no longer hiding his truth has also translated into a physical transformation as Lynch takes that confidence to the task of getting into shape. "Now, I'm working out and seeing my abs form and my arms popping. I'm feeling good about it," Lynch said, contrasting his current condition to an earlier time when he "always hated having my picture taken".

Lynch created a sensation last April when he came out publicly in an essay he wrote for OutSports - an essay in which, poignantly, he explained his decision to embrace authenticity in order not to "die with the lie" still weighing him down.

At the time, having been recently laid off, Lynch was uncertain what the future might bring or whether and when he might be coaching athletes again. But the uncertainties the pandemic brought with it didn't dent his sense of mission.

"I have come to understand what the definition of 'coach' really means: to move a person or object from one point to another — move your players forward and make them better," Lynch wrote in his essay.

His unquenchable enthusiasm has paid off: Earlier this month, Forbes profiled Lynch as one of their "30 Under 30" for the new year.

Lynch is back to work now, as it happens, having returned to UNC Wilmington - this time as an assistant coach with the women's team. But being back in the sports world doesn't mean he has any inclination to bench himself inside the closet once more.

"Now that I'm visible, I want to help create the opportunity for people to fall behind me and understand there's nothing wrong with being gay and coaching basketball," Lynch told the podcast.

"I still have that drive," the coach added. "I feel as if I almost have to turn it up a notch."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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