Basketball 05

Mitch Gillam

December 8, 1939


Mitch Gillam, 82, passed away after an extended illness at the Commons of Providence Memory Care. 

He was born on December 8, 1939 in Lafferty, Ohio, and graduated from Lafferty High School in 1957.  Mitch went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Education at Ohio University, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, his Masters of Science in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Akron, and post graduate work at Ashland University.  Mitch began his teaching and coaching career at Cloverleaf High School and continued on to East Liverpool High School before making the move to Lorain, Ohio in 1971.  Mitch taught industrial arts and coached the boys basketball team at Admiral King High School where his impact on the community continues to have a lasting impression.  

Prior to retiring, he compiled a record of 426 wins and 142 losses.  His Admiral King teams were Ohio’s winningest Division I teams in the 1980s.  During his tenure at Admiral King, 78 out of 96 seniors went on to attend college.  He brought pride and respect to the school and community and made positive influences on his players. In addition to basketball, he also coached boys baseball, golf and football.  

In 1990, he retired from teaching and coaching to become a restaurateur and part owner of The Lorain Brown Derby.  After this endeavor, he returned to his passion of coaching at Admiral King, Elyria West High School, and Elyria High School, and volunteering with the basketball team at Huron High School before finally retiring full time to enjoy spending time on the golf course and traveling.

His many honors throughout his career include being named Northeastern Ohio Coach of the Year, Conference Coach of the Year (11 times), County Coach of the Year (10 times), and Ohio Coach of the Year (2 times).  In 1987, he received Scholastic Coach Magazine's National Coaching Award.  He was inducted into the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame in1984 and into the Lorain County Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992.  The State Coaches Association recognized him as Coach of the Year in 1988 and in 1989 he was recognized by Dapper Dan, Ohio Valley.  Acknowledging his long and successful career, the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association inducted Mitch into the Ohio State Hall of Fame in 1993. 

He is survived by his wife Merlene and four children: Mike (Lynn Dee) Gillam, Barb (Phil) Ammons, Mitch (Beth) Gillam, and Beth (Milan) Perisic; seven grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren and sisters, Mary Gillam and Nancy Gillam Solar.

Mitch donated his body to the Cleveland Clinic Body Donation Program for the advancement of medical science.  There will be no funeral services, condolences may be shared with the family by visiting Foster Funeral Home & Crematory's website 

In lieu of flowers, those who desire, may make memorial contributions in memory of Mitch Gillam to The Jim Popiel Foundation c/o Janet Garcia 520 Broadway Avenue, Lorain, OH 44052, or Stein Hospice, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, Ohio 44870.

The family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at The Commons of Providence Memory Care and Stein Hospice for their excellent care, kindness and compassion.


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