Saturday, December 24, 2005

Coach Bill Adams

Bill Adams: July 6, 1930 - Dec. 21, 2005

I was saddened to learn this weekend that my high school football coach had passed away this Wednesday. At first, I couldn't comprehend it; Coach Adams was a big strong guy and sometimes the term "bigger than life" seemed to fit him pretty well. Guys like that are supposed to outlast us all. At least it seems that way in Coach Adams' case... although I must admit I am certainly biased.

He was one of a dying breed: the truly hard-nosed coach who knew when he needed to lay into a kid... yet also knowing when he needed to offer a kind word. He didn't tolerate anything but perfection, althought during the lean years when I played, perfection wasn't something his players often managed to produce. But he taught me that you always play with intensity and guts and that you shouldn't walk out onto a football field unless you were man enough to dish it out or take it. "Mouth" didn't win football games in Coach Adams' world and he sure didn't tolerate showboating or poor sportsmanship. And the head-spinning gal in "the Exorcist" didn't have anything on what your's would do if Coach Adams got hold of your facemask after you had made a particularly bone-headed play. Looking back, what was nice was that parents didn't get hot and mad if it happened, they knew that Coach Adams was simply making a point the best way possible: simple, blunt and direct. They didn't get mad and pull their kids and all the mess you see these days. On the contrary, they appreciated that Coach Adams would give it to us straight. Kind words might be few and far between on the sideline Friday nights, but he would always give you your due when we ran through film. I learned fast that all it took was all I had. Be it drills, team O and D, sprints, or game time... I gave everything I had... and after a while it became a habit. I have no doubt he appreciated it.

Regardless of individual ability or the outcome of the game, all Coach Adams asked of his players were their best. If you gave him that, then he managed to find the positives... even when they weren't always obvious or in great supply. I learned a lot from him that has helped me make it through life's ups and downs... and I'm a better man for having known him. Of course I didn't tell him this directly the last time I talked with him a year or so ago at his home... that would have been out of character for him and me as well. But he did listen intently as I told him what I had been up to over the past few years... about the teaching and especially the coaching. I told him how a lot of what I learned under him had helped me and he seemed pleased. I guess even then, I still wanted to impress the man. I hope he noticed... I'm sure he appreciated it if he did.

Some things never change.

Thank God.

Coach Bill Adams' Obituary

1 comment:

Coach H said...

Coach Smith,
Coach Adams sounds alot like one of my high school coaches. I learned more about life from him than almost anyone else. That breed of coach is almost gone, sad to say,IMHO. My condolences to you and his family for the loss.