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Suspended sentence for ex-basketball coach

MAGNOLIA — A former Brookhaven High School girls basketballcoach received a suspended sentence Monday after pleading guilty tothree misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of aminor.

Ronald Gill, 49, of 1582 Calvary Dr., was indicted in May onthree felony counts of touching, handling or feeling a child forlustful purposes, but he pleaded guilty to the reduced chargesMonday before Judge Keith Starrett.

“I’m just hurt. Those are my girls,” Gill said during a briefstatement before sentencing.

Gill, whose coaching career spanned 28 years, disputed theperception of what went on during the three incidents. He calledhis players an “extension of my family.”

“I’m sorry that they feel that way, because I didn’t meananything by what happened,” Gill said.

None of the victims were present during yesterday’s events atthe Pike County Courthouse.

Gill was sentenced to one year in the county jail on each count,with the three total years suspended for two years good behaviorprobation. He was ordered to pay a $300 fine.

Gill was also ordered to surrender his teaching license andnever seek a license again in Mississippi. The coach had announcedhis retirement earlier this year.

“He absolutely is not going back to teaching,” said Gill’sattorney, Wayne Dowdy, during a plea agreement discussion withStarrett and Assistant District Attorney Diane Jones.

Gill was scheduled to plead guilty at 2 p.m. Monday. However,there were some questions about the plea agreement and the courtaction was delayed until later in the day.