Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Coach Kevin Downes of Mahopac High School during a game Feb. 27, 2014, in which Mount Vernon High defeated Mahopac 43-40 to win a Class AA boys basketball semifinal game in White Plains, N.Y. / Frank Becerra Jr., The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A New York school district official says he would take "back in a minute" a basketball coach who resigned over racists tweets but doesn't expect him to agree to return.

Mahopac High School boys coach Kevin Downes - who had coached the varsity team for seven years and is black - said Friday he would not return next season.

His players and other Mahopac students are embroiled in racism charges stemming from actions during a loss Feb. 27 to an all-minority Mount Vernon squad.

"It's our loss, no question about that. But we respect his decision," district superintendent Thomas Manko said. "He's a good role model, a fine person and a wonderful coach. ... He's a stand-up kind of guy."

While Mahopac has said it has been unable to prove Mount Vernon's assertion that Downes' players, who are almost all white, directed racist words at Mount Vernon players, it suspended eight non-playing students for postgame racist tweets.

In stepping down, Downes expressed particular dismay that the tweets had been liked, retweeted or favorited 200-plus times.

When asked this week whether the district could do anything to get him back, he said, "I don't think so."

But he expressed gratitude that many former and current Mahopac players and parents, as well as fellow members of the Lower Hudson Basketball Association, had reached out to him.

Of the coaches, he said, "They called, emailed and texted. Some have said, 'Maybe you can join our staff.' This would have been much more difficult to go through without that kind of support."

Downes notified athletic director John Augusta of his decision Friday, then told his players. He described them as shocked and said many later contacted him, "saying they enjoyed playing for me and wished I were still there - nothing but positive things."

The 42-year-old, who played three sports at Mahopac and earned a football scholarship to Boston University, has lived in Dutchess County with his wife and two children for about seven years. Prior to that, Mahopac was his home, and it's where his parents still live.

Calling Mahopac a "big family," he said his decision had been hard on his sons, ages 11 and 14.

"They grew up around the program and knew every kid who was part of the program," he said. "My parents went to every game. It's sad that's gone."

Mount Vernon School District spokesman Vanessa Ridder described Downes' departure as "not at all positive" and said, "It wasn't something we were seeking."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Coach dismayed by racist tweets, won't return to school

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

WED
30
THU
31
FRI
1
SAT
2
SUN
3
MON
4
TUE
5

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX