Northeast’s Adams resigns as football coach

Adams spent five years with North­east’s foot­ball pro­gram, one as head coach and the pre­vi­ous four as an as­sist­ant. TIMES FILE PHOTO

— Jim Adams, who had been with the Vik­ings foot­ball pro­gram since 2008, resigned last week.


When former as­sist­ant Jim Adams ac­cep­ted an of­fer to be­come North­east High School’s head foot­ball coach last year, he spoke of his de­sire to bring a league title back to the school, and to one day even take the Vik­ings to the state play­offs.

As it turns out, both were short-lived vis­ions.

Adams resigned earli­er last week after just one sea­son, telling the North­east Times that he stepped down due to per­son­al reas­ons. He went 7-5 (2-3 in league play), fall­ing to even­tu­al Pub­lic League cham­pi­on Frank­ford in the post­season semi­finals. Adams’ fi­nal memory as North­east’s coach will be a last­ing one, as the Vik­ings won their an­nu­al Thanks­giv­ing game against Cent­ral for the eighth con­sec­ut­ive year in a 14-12 thrill­er. Fol­low­ing his vic­tory, his play­ers treated him to a cel­eb­rat­ory Gat­o­rade bath.

“The reas­on I resigned … there’s just some per­son­al things go­ing on in my life right now to the point where I’m un­able to provide the time and en­ergy that’s ne­ces­sary to be­ing a head coach,” Adams ex­plained. “It’s a 12-month a year com­mit­ment.”

Adams will con­tin­ue with his teach­ing du­ties, as well as serving as North­east’s head JV base­ball coach this spring. Be­fore tak­ing the top foot­ball job, he had been an as­sist­ant foot­ball coach at the school since 2008.

As an as­sist­ant un­der former head coach and cur­rent ath­let­ic dir­ect­or Chris Ri­ley, Adams won a Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship in 2010. A 1987 gradu­ate of Pen­nridge High School in Bucks County, Adams played foot­ball at Kutztown Uni­versity un­til re­con­struct­ive knee sur­gery ended his play­ing ca­reer. After he gradu­ated in 1992, Adams began teach­ing in the Phil­adelphia School Dis­trict in 1993.

Adams was left “stretched thin” by all of the ad­ded re­spons­ib­il­it­ies that come with be­ing a head foot­ball coach in such a de­mand­ing mar­ket, soon dis­cov­er­ing that be­ing the man in charge is much more time-con­sum­ing than be­ing an as­sist­ant.

“There just wasn’t enough time in the day, so I felt it was best to step down,” he said.

When asked if he’d po­ten­tially be in­ter­ested in re­turn­ing as an as­sist­ant on the next foot­ball coach’s staff, Adams said prob­ably not.

“I think I’m go­ing to take a little break,” he said. “I have three sons of my own … two play foot­ball, and one is a seni­or at Pott­s­grove High School. I got to a couple games last year, but I felt bad that I wasn’t there for him. As coaches, you have to de­cide where your pri­or­it­ies are. At this time, I’d rather my top pri­or­ity to be my own kids.”

Now, Ri­ley and North­east’s ad­min­is­tra­tion are left with the task of find­ing a new coach, as the Vik­ings will open their third con­sec­ut­ive sea­son next fall with a dif­fer­ent foot­ball boss. As they did last year, North­east will first see if any­one in the build­ing is in­ter­ested in tak­ing the job (Adams’ as­sist­ants in­cluded of­fens­ive co­ordin­at­or Dave Dav­is, de­fens­ive co­ordin­at­or War­ren Cosby and po­s­i­tion coaches Joe Blee, Seth Sha­piro and Der­rick Johns). If not, they’ll cast the net out to oth­er can­did­ates in the re­gion and dis­trict. 

One name to keep an eye on could be long­time Ger­man­town High School head coach Mike Hawkins, who will be without a job when the school closes at the end of the aca­dem­ic year. Hawkins has dec­ades of ex­per­i­ence coach­ing in the Pub­lic League, and his Bears pro­gram plays with­in the league’s Gold Di­vi­sion, same as North­east.

The head coach­ing pro­cess will even­tu­ally take care of it­self; in the mean­time, Ri­ley said he wanted to thank Adams for his years of ser­vice to the North­east foot­ball pro­gram.

“Jim is a very un­der­stand­ing, nice and caring in­di­vidu­al,” Ri­ley said. “When push comes to shove, he’s just a per­son who really cares about the kids. He did the best he could, and I was ex­cited for him when he took on the ad­ded re­spons­ib­il­it­ies of be­ing a head coach. But some­times cir­cum­stances hap­pen in life, and be­ing a par­ent and teach­er can be very de­mand­ing.”

Ri­ley was also asked what type of can­did­ate he and the school would be look­ing for.

“I think we al­ways like to look for a North­east guy if we can, but really we want someone who is edu­ca­tion-first, foot­ball-second,” he said. “Who­ever we hire will strive to stress aca­dem­ics to the kids, be­cause we want to get them in­to col­lege. It’s something every school should do, but I don’t al­ways think that’s the case. We really en­force and de­mand that of our kids. Bey­ond that, we just want someone with a great work eth­ic, someone who cares for the kids and someone who will be tough, but fair.”

And while Adams said he is com­fort­able with his de­cision to walk away, he said he’d miss get­ting to know the ath­letes more as in­di­vidu­als out­side the classroom.

“You get a chance to know these kids on more of a per­son­al level, so there’s more ca­marader­ie to be built than there is in class,” he said. “You spend time on the bus with them, or bond with them be­fore and after games and prac­tices. You see them in a dif­fer­ent light.”

As someone who still is a part of the North­east High fam­ily, Adams hopes to see the pro­gram re­turn to prom­in­ence. North­east has won just two league titles in the past 28 years, and area rivals Wash­ing­ton and Frank­ford have cap­tured the last two.

The Vik­ings will lose a lot of seni­or tal­ent, namely quar­ter­back Daquan Bo­han­non, two-way standouts Shimeek Carter, Dav­id Pul­li­am (an East­ern Michigan Uni­versity sign­ee) and Devon Dillard, line­back­er Shahir Gates and line­man Bern­ard Hou­s­ton, so it won’t be an easy climb back up the moun­tain.

Pul­li­am’s young­er broth­er, An­thony, wideout/DB Jonath­an Diaz (both ju­ni­ors) and sopho­more Rush­awn Grange (the team’s lead­ing rush­er with 540 yards) are a few names the new head coach will have to work with later this fall.

“They’ll re­load,” Adams said. “Seni­ors gradu­at­ing is something that hap­pens every year, which opens up op­por­tun­it­ies for the young­er guys. Hope­fully they seize the mo­ment and take ad­vant­age of the chances they have. Any­thing is pos­sible.” ••

Sports Ed­it­or Ed Mor­rone can be reached at 215-354-3035 or em­or­

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