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Published 10/09/15

Assistant Basketball Coach Chris Burns

"I look forward to a season in which I feel free to be my authentic self both on the court and off it," said Assistant Basketball Coach Chris Burns, left. "I hope this will not serve as a distraction ... for the student-athletes and coaches who have supported me throughout this journey."

Assistant basketball coach's coming out story draws media attention

The USA Today article about Assistant Basketball Coach Chris Burns' experience coming out as a gay man was published in news outlets around the world and prompted scores of additional articles and commentaries.

As of Oct. 8 — the day of the article's publication — Burns is the only openly gay assistant or head coach among the roughly 3,000 coaches in men's and women's Division I basketball.

"I hope by doing this, I can help ease the pain and conflict so many others are going through, often in silence."

"Telling my story was not a decision I made lightly, and it was not made without consideration of how it would affect those around me," Burns said through a statement released Oct. 8 by Bryant Athletics. "I am thankful for the support system I have had and for how it has grown over the recent weeks and days. It has been a long journey to get to the place I am today, and I hope by doing this, I can help ease the pain and conflict so many others are going through, often in silence.

"Equally as important for me, though, is returning the focus to what I love – coaching basketball. I look forward to a season in which I feel free to be my authentic self both on the court and off it, and I hope this will not serve as a distraction for me professionally, for the game that has meant so much to me, or for the student-athletes and coaches who have supported me throughout this journey."

"We fully support Chris and what he is doing and are proud that Bryant University is a place where he feels comfortable telling his story," said Director of Athletics Bill Smith. "It takes tremendous character and courage to take this step. At Bryant, we have moved beyond stereotypes and biases and see Chris for who he is – a great man and a fantastic basketball coach. The good that he is doing will echo through generations to come, in athletics and beyond, and Chris will always be a valued member of the Bryant Bulldog family."