Adrian’s Gene Mills remembered for his care of kids – and his handshake

By John L. Braese

In today’s world, a handshake is a form of greeting when meeting someone for the first time or seeing an old friend. In long gone days, a handshake was a bond, a contract without all the paperwork and lawyers.

In 2004, I first took a handshake from Gene Mills.

Being new to journalism, I was sent to cover a basketball game in Adrian. I introduced myself, stuck out my hand and immediately felt the pain. Gene crushed the handshake, leaving my hand throbbing well into the second quarter. I sat in the stands not taking notes, trying to remember the plays by memory.

As the years and games went by, it was always the same. Gene shook a hand like no other.

He became a friend as well as a coach I saw after the game. We would meet in summer league, talk . . .