The College of Charleston Board of Trustees at a special meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, unanimously approved to amend men’s basketball Head Coach Pat Kelsey’s existing contract.

Now in his second season with the Cougars, Kelsey has led the program to 28 regular-season wins (currently best in the nation), and his team spent four weeks in the AP Top 25 Poll. Charleston currently ranks second in the nation in winning percentage, third in bench points and second in offensive rebounds. Next season, the Cougars will welcome the 40th ranked recruiting class in the country, the highest ranked recruiting class in school history.

“This contract extension represents our institutional commitment to Coach Kelsey and his ability to elevate the College of Charleston brand and reputation firmly onto the national stage,” said College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu. “Unlike many other universities, our school has an opportunity right now to make ourselves a Mid-Major powerhouse, and we – the administration, the trustees and our fans – believe Coach Kelsey has the right vision, the right character and the right energy to make the College of Charleston successful for years to come. I’m especially proud that we were able to leverage our institutional resources alongside private philanthropy to make this contract extension possible.”

The five-year contract outlines an annual guaranteed compensation package of $1.1 million, with a base state salary of $600,000 and an annual supplement of $500,000 from private dollars. The contract also includes incentives for reaching 20-win seasons and a variety of standard performance bonuses for conference championships, coach-of-the-year accolades and NCAA Tournament appearances.

“I have seen how College of Charleston basketball can galvanize this city in such positive ways,” said David Hay ’81, chair of the College of Charleston Board of Trustees. “I saw it firsthand with Coach John Kresse during his legendary tenure, and, many times, with Coach Bobby Cremins and Coach Earl Grant. Like them, Coach Kelsey brings such a lift to the Charleston community through his ‘Our City’ philosophy, and I am proud that ‘Our City’ has come together to support him, both through record-breaking, sell-out crowds and through historic levels of philanthropy, reciprocating his incredible passion for our institution and community.”

“Pat’s energy and enthusiasm has brought this program to a place it has not been in a long time,” said Matt Roberts, director of athletics. “I am excited to continue to watch this program grow under his leadership. Pat is an extraordinary mentor and example to our student-athletes and student body, as a whole. His twin focus on academics and accountability and his approach to being great at ‘the next thing’ are what make him a premier coaching talent. With this new contract, I am excited for Pat and his family, Lisa, Ruthie, Caroline and Johnny. I’m especially grateful to our many Cougar supporters who stepped forward to help the College of Charleston to make this contract possible through significant private support that poured in during the last two months.”

The men’s basketball team returns to action in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals on Sunday, March 5, at 6 p.m. (EST) on FloSports, the conference’s live sports event streaming platform.

Coach Pat Kelsey Comment on Contract Extension:

“Yes, defense wins championship … but so do administrations. President Andrew Hsu, the Board of Trustees and Director of Athletics Matt Roberts flat out ‘get it.’ I’m blessed and honored to work for them,” said Kelsey. “Matt is the best AD in America. Period. Matt asked a group of people in the community for their support in this endeavor and they responded resoundingly. I am truly grateful for their passionate response and generosity. To the city of Charleston, our fans and students: Thank you for your support and belief in what we are building here in OUR CITY. You all have created an amazing atmosphere at The Six.

Kelsey continued, “Charleston is a magnificent place that has a beauty, vibe and character like few others. The College is the pride of this great city. Our basketball program is one of the biggest windows through which the world sees both. The buzz in the city for Cougar basketball is palpable from King Street to the neighboring beaches. This is the vision that we imagined two years ago when we arrived here, and while we are only just beginning, seeing the vision come to fruition is so exciting. This community has been so good to my family, and we are blessed to call Charleston home. I will scream this from the mountain top today and forever … the key to all great organizations is its people and their commitment to excellence. We call it ‘25 Strong.’ It starts with our players who are very talented but most importantly are committed to ‘TEAM’ and the power of the unit. Our support team of admins, sports medicine, academic staff, compliance, business operations, sales, media relations, facility management, fundraising, and marketing are all terrific. They put wind at our back. Finally, our basketball and strength staff is without question the best in all of college basketball. They are the backbone of our program. God is great. We are on a path to build something special here. Today is another step in that direction. It is with utmost gratitude and excitement that I say these words. … ‘OUR CITY!’”