GONZALES — The national office of the Amateur Athletic Union suspended a Gonzales boys basketball coach Friday amid criminal allegations he sent sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl who attended his team’s games.
The suspension also comes one day after Adrian Steib Jr., 26, was removed as a volunteer coach from the Louisiana Jaguars, the Gonzales-based AAU boys-only basketball program where Steib had coached for at least two years.
“We took immediate action as soon as we learned of the allegations and subsequent arrest. He has been suspended,” Rachel D’Orazio, AAU’s director of marketing and public relations, said Friday.
The AAU is a nationwide youth sports nonprofit based in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Walt Disney World’s sprawling property outside Orlando.
The organization is dedicated to the promotion of amateur sports and is involved in multiple sports, but some AAU basketball teams have become known for budding talent. The Louisiana Jaguars have various all-star-like teams that travel for competition. The boys are in their middle and high school years, the group’s president has said.
Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Steib, 43026 Cypress Bend Road, Gonzales, Wednesday on counts of computer-aided solicitation of a minor and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He was released from Ascension Parish Prison near Donaldsonville the same day on a $10,000 bail.
Steib was coach of a 15-and-younger team this year and an assistant coach last year on a 14-and-younger team.
Sheriff’s deputies have not said any players on the team were solicited by Steib but did allege that Steib sent messages to a girl who attended team games.
Sheriff’s Maj. Kevin Hanna has said the messages were sent on one day and that the girl was not an active participant in the messaging, which Sheriff Jeff Wiley described as “strong sexually explicit comments.” Hanna said Steib also sought photographs from the girl.
The girl’s mother found the messages and filed a complaint last week.
With about 670,000 member athletes, 600,000 of whom are between ages 8 and 18, AAU officials defended their organization’s background checks Friday.
Coach Charlie Domino, girls basketball sports director and governor of AAU’s Southern District for Louisiana and Mississippi, said every coach must go through a background check every year after AAU upgraded checks about six years ago.
He said felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions involving domestic violence or juveniles would disqualify those seeking to be coaches. This year, six people seeking to be coaches in the Southern District were denied a coach’s permit after a check, he said.
“It’s really pretty stringent,” Domino said.
Hanna said Steib had no criminal history prior to his arrest Wednesday. Turner said his group had not received complaints about Steib.
If Steib is convicted of the allegations, Domino said, he likely would be banned as an AAU coach.
D’Orazio said Steib could not reapply online to be a coach but would have to go through AAU’s National Board of Review.
Answering a call to Steib’s address Friday, his sister declined comment on her brother’s behalf.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.