Anyone who’s ever crossed paths with Scott Adams will more than likely have glowing things to say about Holly Pond’s longtime girls basketball coach.
On the court, he is reveled by former and current players alike as a terrific coach who shines at motivating his teams, while expecting the absolute best out of each one of his players.
When Adams isn’t coaching, he’s usually home with his family or being active at church, two places where he might actually thrive more than when he’s calling out plays inside the Broncos’ gymnasium on game nights.
It’s because of all those things Adams was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A Girls Coach of the Year for his efforts this season.
Holly Pond finished a school-best 29-5 and advanced to its first state final in Green and White history before claiming a state runner-up trophy following a hard-fought loss to defending-champion Lauderdale County.
Following the season, Adams called his squad, “one of the most incredible, unselfish teams I’ve ever coached.”
Tracy Adams, Scott’s wife, said the game of basketball has been a part of his life for as long as the couple has known each other.
“It’s hard to put into words how much it means to him,” she said. “It’s always been a priority for him. Not just coaching, but being a part of kids’ lives and building relationships with them. A lot of his former players stay in contact with him over the years as they grow up and start families. That’s very important to him.”
One of those former players is Haley Terry, who played for Adams from 2007-2010. Terry recalled many characteristics about the coach she found to be memorable.
“He was always motivating us,” she said. “He believed in us no matter who we were playing. He’s definitely the best coach I’ve ever played for.”
It wasn’t just basketball in which Adams guided Terry and her teammates. According to the former Bronco star, the coach was integral at keeping his players on a good path that extended far beyond the field of play.
“He helped us stay on track,” Terry said. “Both on the court and in our spiritual lives. He’s a really good Christian who never gave up on us and was always there for any of us off the court. He was like a second father to me.”
Meg Gambrill, who currently plays under Adams, said her relationship with her coach didn’t start out great but has since blossomed into one she cherishes.
“At the start of this season, I felt like we never got along,” she said. “He’d always just be on me, and I felt like early in the season he would do it more and more. I remember telling Lexi (Lynn) that I didn’t enjoy the game and didn’t enjoy playing for him. I was ready to quit.”
When Gambrill’s thoughts were brought to Adams’ attention, the coach was quick to make amends.
“As soon as he found out, he pulled me aside in practice and apologized,” Gambrill said. “I know now the reason he does that is because of the expectations he has for us. I wasn’t playing up to my full potential. I think after that moment we understood each other a lot better.”
The sophomore guard still has two years left to play under Adams and is ready to return to Birmingham under a coach who, according to Gambrill, has “great Christian morals.”
“He wants us to be the Christian women he’s know we can be,” she said. “He would always tell us that it’s just a game and that there is more important stuff in the world.
“I can’t wait to get back out there. He’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing. He believes in us and supports us through thick and thin.”
Adams has certainly been around the game a long time. His dad, Dwayne, coached boys basketball for many years at Holly Pond, and Adams just finished up his 24th year of teaching and coaching.
Don’t look for the Adams’ coaching tree to end once he retires, however, as his son Drew, 19, hopes to one day fill his father’s shoes as a coach and teacher himself.
“It’s been neat to see the coaching tradition continue on like it has,” Tracy said. “I guess you could say it’s a family calling.”
Colby, another one of Adams’ sons, is a junior who plays basketball for the Broncos. The 3A honorable mention joined his father in the Final 48 tourney as well when Holly Pond defeated Pisgah in the Northeast Regional final. The Broncos later fell to Southside-Selma in the 3A state semifinal.
Colby said although his father is basketball through and through, the coach rarely brings it home with him.
“He’s really passionate about it, but he doesn’t get all in my face about it like he does when he’s coaching,” Colby said with a laugh. “He never gets in bad moods with us after a loss.”
Adams was given the rare chance to be both dad and coach during each of the Bronco squads’ runs to Birmingham.
After the boys defeated Geraldine in a sub-regional game, Adams was the first person to greet his son on the court, wrapping him up in a huge congratulatory bear hug, all while wearing a jubilant smile.
“He was definitely excited to watch me play,” Colby said. “I’d look in the stands and he’d be hiding his face because he was so nervous watching. Basketball has meant so much to us and to experience all that with him was really great.”
As mentioned earlier, Adams is a devout Christian who spends ample time with his church family.
Brandon Smothers, pastor at First Baptist Church of Holly Pond, called Adams “one of the godliest men he knows.”
“He takes his relationship with God very seriously,” Smothers said. “He’s a spiritual influence to his family and his players. It’s really important to him that he reaches people in his life about Jesus.”
According to Smothers, Adams is heavily involved in a church program called AWANA, where the coach helps young children memorize scripture using a game-type element.
“He’s just as intense during the kids’ games as he is on the court,” Smothers said. “He’s their biggest cheerleader.”
The pastor also put Adams in charge during a mission trip to Nicaragua this past year and said he never had to think twice about it.
“He loved it there,” Smothers said of Adams. “I think if it were possible, he probably would have brought some of those kids home with him. He’s really great with them, but if you put him in a room full of adults, he’d be one of the wisest ones there.”
Adams is his best at home, however, where he’s able to be a husband and a father.
“He’s just so committed to everything he does,” Tracy said of her husband. “He’s helped our kids put the right things first.”
The Adams’ family recently welcomed three new additions to the fold, adopting three children they had been fostering for the past few years.
Tracy said it wasn’t the plan when they first started, but it just happened to work out that way.
“We had two of them for almost three years,” she said. “They became a part of our family. We love them and couldn’t imagine not having them in our lives.”
Violet, 7, and Terry, 3, are the two the Adams have cared for over the past three years. Their youngest, Elizabeth, just turned 1.
The adoption was made official just two days before Adams and his team played Straughn in their state semifinal game.
“It was a very exciting two weeks for us,” Tracy said.
It’s no doubt Adams is well-respected not just within his household, but throughout the Holly Pond community.
His son Colby could only sum up his father in so many words.
“He’s a tremendous coach, but he’s really an unbelievable dad,” Colby said. “The Christian example he’s set for our family and his players is special. It’s been a great path for me to follow.”
‰ Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.