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Facing criminal charges, Gateway boys basketball coach resigns

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Gateway boys basketball Mitch Adams watches from the bench during a game against McKeesport on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at McKeesport High School.
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Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, 2:15 p.m.

Mitch Adams, who led Gateway to back-to-back WPIAL Class AAAA championships in 2011 and '12, resigned Sunday as boys basketball coach amid allegations he threatened a neighbor in Trafford.

Trafford police charged Adams, 56, on Aug. 11 with making terroristic threats and harassment during an alleged confrontation July 13 with a neighbor. He vowed Saturday to fight the charges, saying, “there's nothing to it” and that he would be “proven innocent.”

“I didn't want to become a distraction for Gateway,” said Adams, who faces a preliminary hearing Sept. 23. “I didn't want that having anything to do with overshadowing this team. The respect I have for the kids should come first.”

Adams was 136-68 in nine seasons at Gateway, leading the Gators to two section titles, the school's first two WPIAL basketball championships and a WPIAL runner-up finish in 2010.

“I enjoyed my time at Gateway,” Adams said. “I've been blessed with a lot of good young men, high-caliber character kids at Gateway. A lot of our success was done with hard work. I was blessed with good assistants, and a lot of time was put in.”

Despite accusations of using abusive language toward players, Adams was retained by the Gateway School Board this summer. Adams has hip-replacement surgery scheduled for late September and said he was contemplating resigning before the charges.

“I need to get operated on — my hips and knees are shot,” Adams said. “I've been putting Band-Aids on, but I have to get it corrected.”

Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti said he “didn't have any inclination” that Adams would resign but said “it doesn't surprise me.”

“We would like to thank him for his years of service to the Gateway School District,” Rovesti said. “He has 31 years coaching, a lot of those in football. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Rovesti added that, once Gateway accepts Adams' resignation and conducts a coaching search, he “would like to see us move swiftly in naming a qualified candidate.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorm o r via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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