Viking Quest

— With former head coach Chris Ri­ley step­ping aside, Jim Adams takes the reins of the North­east foot­ball pro­gram.

New North­east High School foot­ball coach, Jim Adams, at prac­tice on the school’s fields, Fri­day, Au­gust 17, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)


With the be­gin­ning of the high school foot­ball sea­son just over a week away, pre­par­a­tion for the 2012 cam­paign is at a fever pitch. Area teams began prac­tice early last week, and coach­ing staffs across the city are im­ple­ment­ing two-a-day ses­sions to get their play­ers ready for kick­off on Aug. 31.

It’s a lot of work to cram in­to a short amount of time, which is es­pe­cially true in the case of Jim Adams, who has taken over for Chris Ri­ley as North­east High School’s head foot­ball coach. Ri­ley, also the school’s ath­let­ic dir­ect­or, had been call­ing the shots for the Vik­ings foot­ball pro­gram since the 2009 sea­son and de­cided to step down as head coach earli­er this year. In his place stepped Adams, an en­er­get­ic coach and Ri­ley dis­ciple, who hopes to leapfrog Frank­ford and Wash­ing­ton in a very de­mand­ing Pub­lic League. The Vik­ings as­pire to re­turn to the league title game, which they last won un­der Ri­ley in 2010.

The North­east Times caught up with Adams on the eve of the 2012 sea­son:

North­east Times: Give some of the folks a little back­ground on your­self.

Jim Adams: I’m from Telford, Pennsylvania, and gradu­ated from Pen­nridge High School in 1987. From there, I gradu­ated from Kutztown Uni­versity in 1992 and played foot­ball there un­til I had re­con­struct­ive sur­gery on my right knee. I star­ted teach­ing in the Phil­adelphia School Dis­trict in 1993 at Park­way Gamma High School and have been teach­ing at North­east since 2006, hav­ing been an as­sist­ant foot­ball coach there since ’08.

NET: What cir­cum­stances led you to tak­ing the North­east job?

Adams: Coach Ri­ley de­cided to step down and there was a need for a head coach. I was an as­sist­ant of his and he en­cour­aged me to ser­i­ously con­sider tak­ing the po­s­i­tion, which I did, and here I am today.

NET: What are the main dif­fer­ences in coach­ing styles between you and Coach Ri­ley?

Adams: Well, my high school coach­ing ex­per­i­ence is greatly in­flu­enced by Coach Ri­ley since I was a mem­ber of his staff. As far as ma­jor changes, not hav­ing Chris Ri­ley on the staff as head coach is a ma­jor change in and of it­self. He had a very struc­tured sys­tem, some of which was re­tained.

NET: Chris is still the school’s ath­let­ic dir­ect­or. Does it help hav­ing him there as an ad­viser as you pre­pare for your first sea­son as head coach?

Adams: Coach Ri­ley has al­ways been very help­ful as a col­league and a friend. I can bounce ideas off of him and he gives ad­vice.

NET: What’s the biggest chal­lenge to be­ing a first-year head coach, es­pe­cially in a tough league like the Phil­adelphia Pub­lic League?

Adams: I don’t think I have a defin­it­ive an­swer for you on that one just yet. I am look­ing at this like it is the first year of teach­ing. There are many ex­per­i­ences that you need to go through, try the best you can and then eval­u­ate how things go once all the dust settles at the end of the sea­son.

NET: Speak­ing of, the league should be a mine­field as usu­al, with Frank­ford and Wash­ing­ton hav­ing played for the title last year.

Adams: I’ll tell you what, Frank­ford and Wash­ing­ton are al­ways go­ing to be ma­jor chal­lenges. They have well-pre­pared kids and strong coach­ing staffs.

NET: What play­ers have stuck out to you so far in prac­tice?

Adams: The seni­ors this year are the ones go­ing through the greatest trans­ition, so I’d say the seni­or class for suc­cess­fully trans­ition­ing to the new coach­ing staff led by of­fens­ive co­ordin­at­or Dave Dav­is, de­fens­ive co­ordin­at­or War­ren Cosby and awe­some as­sist­ants Joe Blee, Seth Sha­piro and Der­rick Johns.

NET: What guys will you really miss?

Adams: As an edu­cat­or for 18 years, I have got­ten used to kids leav­ing, some­times due to gradu­ation and some­times due to oth­er cir­cum­stances. It’s just something that you get used to, but you still wel­come them back with open arms if and when they re­turn.

NET: The 2011 team fin­ished 7-5 over­all, but was a little in­con­sist­ent un­til the fi­nal three games, all wins. Can this team build on that, or is it a com­pletely new slate?

Adams: The 2011 sea­son had a great amount of ad­versity due to key in­jur­ies and that team did show a great amount of re­si­li­ence. Our strong end of the sea­son def­in­itely cre­ated some mo­mentum for this sea­son. We have some great kids at North­east.

NET: What are you most look­ing for­ward to be­ing a head coach at this school in this league?

Adams: The rivalry with Wash­ing­ton, play­ing at Frank­ford on a crisp Oc­to­ber Sat­urday morn­ing and the great crowd that comes out and roots for their team at the tra­di­tion­al Thanks­giv­ing Day game against Cent­ral. And someday, a mid-Decem­ber vic­tory in Her­shey.

NET: Week one versus Ne­sham­iny is less than two weeks away. What does the team need to im­prove upon in or­der to have a suc­cess­ful open­ing night?

Adams: We need to play as a team, where all 11 play­ers on the field do their job and trust the guy next to him to do his. Con­fid­ence is im­port­ant and my staff is work­ing hard on get­ting the play­ers pre­pared to know their jobs and to have the con­fid­ence and be­lief that they can ac­com­plish their tasks.

NET: On the whole, what are your ex­pect­a­tions for this team?

Adams: Ex­pect this team to be com­pet­it­ive and to give their best ef­fort at all times.

NET: How have the guys re­spon­ded to two-a-days so far in the sum­mer heat?

Adams: Over­all, the first week of camp went well. The kids have been work­ing really hard and com­ing pre­pared to be trained by the coach­ing staff. Kids have been com­ing to camp well hy­drated and bring­ing snacks and lunch to keep their en­ergy up.

NET: What is the most im­port­ant goal you’re striv­ing to­ward as a first-year head coach?

Adams: I want the kids, staff and par­ents to have an over­all good ex­per­i­ence. I want the kids to learn all the les­sons that the sport of foot­ball teaches: hard work, delayed grat­i­fic­a­tion, ad­versity, team­work, how to handle win­ning and how to handle los­ing… but hope­fully not so much of that last one.

NET: Two sea­sons ago, North­east won the Pub­lic League title. What does this team have to do to leap over the likes of Frank­ford and Wash­ing­ton?

Adams: L.U.C.K. — Labor Un­der Con­trolled Know­ledge. Also, block and tackle bet­ter than our op­pon­ent on any giv­en day and we will be right back there (with those teams). ••

For more on the up­com­ing high school foot­ball sea­son, check back in next week’s North­east Times for a com­plete, com­pre­hens­ive pre­view on all sev­en area teams. 


North­east Sched­ule

 **Games sub­ject to change

Week 1 (8/31): vs. Ne­sham­iny, 6 p.m.

Week 2 (9/7): vs. Lin­coln, 6 p.m.

Week 3 (9/14): vs. South­ern, 6:30 p.m.

Week 4 (9/21): at Frank­ford, 3 p.m.

Week 5 (9/28): vs. Fels, 6:30 p.m.

Week 6 (10/5): at Cent­ral, 3 p.m.

Week 7 (10/12): vs. Ger­man­town, 6:30 p.m.

Week 8 (10/18): vs. Wash­ing­ton, 6 p.m.

Week 9 (10/27): at Fur­ness, 10 a.m. (at South­ern)

Week 10 (11/2): at West Phila., 2:30 p.m. (at Bartram)

Week 11 (11/9): vs. Gratz, 6:30 p.m.

Week 12 (11/22): vs. Cent­ral, 10 a.m. (Thanks­giv­ing Day)

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