Oxford's head coach Mike Adams
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
Oxford – Taking over a team that was 3-8 last season might seem like a difficult task for a new football coach, but after what Oxford Pirates head coach Mike Adams has already been through, this is nothing.
Adams, 25, took over the Parsippany High School football team in Parsippany, New Jersey, in 2010, when he was just 23, and the team was in the midst of a 31-game losing streak. He was faced not only with the unenviable task of breaking the streak, but he also had to deal with the pressure of returning home after college to coach his alma-mater as the youngest coach in the state, something he was able to accomplish.
Adams played football and was a wrestler while at Parsippany High School and went on to have a great career as the starting middle linebacker at Springfield College for four years. He also did what he had set out to do, getting a degree in Physical Education.
“After finishing college with the degree, I tried to find a job in Massachusetts, but it didn’t work out, so I headed back home and “I found an Instructional Aide job at my high school and became an assistant coach on the football team,” said Adams.
“When the head coach left, I had the opportunity to get interviewed and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I went for it and ended up getting the position, which was really good, and I became the head coach.”
The team ended its losing streak and even won a few more games and became competitive. Unfortunately, after getting a full time teaching job and coaching Parsippany for two years, Adams was let go after staffing cuts, and had to find another teaching job.
“I came across the Oxford job through a friend of mine who is a graduate assistant at Springfield College. I went through the whole interview process and a few weeks later I found out that I got the position as a full time health education teacher and head football coach.”
It was a win-win situation for both Adams and the school since Oxford head football coach Jeff Parcells had moved on to become the Athletic Director at Sutton High School and the Pirates needed a football coach and had the teaching opening as well.
Adams couldn’t be happier to be here. “The school is beautiful, the field is in great shape, the staff does a great job in keeping up with the facilities. I am getting a lot of support from the administration, so it’s a great environment to be in.”
The new head coach is using web resources and has been in touch with some of the other coaches in the area to get up to speed with the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL).
The team also added veteran Worcester County coach Ron Sylvestri to the staff as an assistant, someone who Adams says will help a lot since he knows the area. He has also talked extensively with Parcells “who has filled me in on a lot of things, as have some of the other SWCL coaches.”
Despite coming off a poor season, the outlook is good as the Pirates expect to have the largest freshmen group that the school has seen in some time. Between the new kids in Oxford and those coming in from Sutton, they could have as many as 35 new players, and that is a good reason to be optimistic.
“We plan on being competitive,” said Adams, who will implement his own offensive system. With a strong staff in place, which includes Sylvestri and Matt Tyrell, who is also the strength and conditioning coach, everything is falling into the place.
The Pirates will begin full practices on August 20 and open at Bay Path on Saturday, September 8. They have their work cut for them, with match-ups against powerhouses Auburn, Shepherd Hill, and Northbridge on the horizon.
It’s all just business as usual for Adams, who is no stranger at facing big challenges.
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- Tuesday, 07 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports