GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - Saturday's state title win for the NY Mills boys basketball team, their first since 1982, meant a lot to the Marauder fans, players and coaches, but to Mike Adey and Fred Russ, it was even bigger.
Adey is a thirty year coaching legend who was elected to the NY State Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday and has spent the last thirteen years at Mills. The state title win capped off a perfect weekend for a classy guy.
"It's been my life, it's done really great things for me," Adey said Saturday. "To win it with my son (Brian) as my assistant coach, priceless. To have my little granddaughter giving me knuckles after the game, can't put that into words, can't put that kind of stuff into words."
After getting to Glens Falls, but falling short in the final four last year, the Marauders felt they had unfinished business and they got the job done this year in the title game against Coleman Catholic.
Russ, the tournament MVP, and his teammates credit Adey for motivating them to be the very best.
"I can't even tell you what he means to me, he's my coach, I love him, he's like a father to me," Russ said after his 17 point, 19 rebound performance in the championship. "Every time I got down he told me I could do it, every time a shot wouldn't go in he'd say don't worry about it, it'll go in. It worked out in the end, my senior year I won a state championship, so I love the man."
"He can yell at you, scream at you, but he's just a great coach, to play with him three years is an honor," added junior center Matt Welch. "He's a hall of fame coach, to take us all the way here twice and win a state title, he's always going to have a smile in my heart, the rest of my life."
Welch is one of several key players that will be returning next year as Mills attempts to repeat as state champions, but Russ has played his last game as a Marauder. The Richfield Springs native came to Mills three years ago and has been a cornerstone of the team, especially this season.
He has a few options for his future, between basketball and football and now he has a chance to focus on that. It's been tough to think about it, because ever since last year's final four loss, he's had one thing on his mind: getting back to Glens Falls and winning it all, which he and the team accomplished.
"It's a great feeling to have, knowing you can come in and be accepted and start playing basketball, the thing that you love and accomplish great things," said Russ. "I don't want to put it on myself, everybody on the team helped me accomplish, from 10th grade to 11th to 12th, everybody helped me out and winning this is just amazing."
"We were in that locker room a year ago and he stood up and said we're coming back and everybody looked around like yeah sure Fred, we're losing five starters and we're going to be back," added Adey. "He meant it and he did it. He's the best, the tournament MVP."
NEWSChannel 2 would like to once again congratulate the Marauders and all of their fans on an amazing season, capped off by their first state title in 29 years.