By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Huelee Adams remembers fondly his playing and coaching days throughout his esteemed career.
Whether he was making plays off the dribble as a member of the Vinemont Junior High squad or drawing up a last-second set to win a game over a county rival, Adams lived for the moment and enjoyed his years on the court.
Simply put, Adams loved the game of basketball.
As a player, coach and administrator for more than 30 years, the 1964 Cullman High grad and former Vinemont coach will see his accomplishments honored as he is set to be inducted into the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame on April 27 in a ceremony at the Civic Center.
“Anytime you’re recognized for something like this, it’s certainly an honor,” Adams said. “Even though I don’t feel like I’m very deserving of the induction, it’s still an honor.”
Adams began his playing days in eighth grade as a member of Vinemont’s Junior High basketball team before becoming a full-time starter on “A” team in ninth grade.
“I was the play-making guard,” he said. “I scored some but my job was to get the ball to our forwards.”
Since Vinemont only went through ninth grade at the time, Adams attended Cullman High for his remaining three years of education.
While he was there, Adams went out for the basketball team and dressed for a couple of “B” games. Unfortunately for him, though, his prep career ended shortly after that.
“My family had a farm about four miles from the school,” Adams said. “We only had one car at the time, so when I got home from practice it was already dark, and there were chores to be done. My parents decided that I had to quit.”
Although he didn’t play on his high school team, Adams was able to get in some gym time his senior year playing intramural basketball. While coaching at Garden City High, he also took part in some independent basketball leagues, where Adams said he developed into “a pretty good shooter.”
Adams got his start coaching and teaching at Garden City in the fall of 1956 with only two years of college under his belt.
However, he continued his education at night and in the summer, eventually earning his AA teaching certificate.
He stayed at Garden City for six years, where he coached for three seasons before taking off one year for active military training in the National Guard. He returned for two more years, defeating Vinemont Junior High in the county tournament during his final season.
Adams returned to Vinemont in the fall of 1962 to teach and take over the head coaching position of the junior high basketball program.
In his five years at the helm, his teams won four county championships, including an undefeated season (1965-66) and a string of 32-straight victories spanning three seasons.
“I had a lot of good talent,” Adams said. “It was more their playing than my coaching that won those games. There were a lot of good, dedicated players on those teams.”
In 1967, Vinemont, along with Good Hope, began their first official year of being a high school, making Adams the first ever high school basketball coach at Vinemont.
Adams’ first varsity squad — consisting of three 10th graders and two ninth graders — finished its inaugural season with 14-12 record. They were able to participate in the Cullman County basketball tournament, but not in the area tournament.
As Vinemont’s athletic program expanded, so did Adams’ coaching resume.
He became the school’s first baseball coach and later assisted with the football program. He also started the school’s first summer recreation program, where he directed teams for several years.
“As a coach, you become close to your players,” Adams said. “They’re almost like family. Our job was not only teaching them sports, but teaching them how to live and achieve at life. Most of mine turned out well, and I hope I had a great influence on their lives.”
Following his coaching career, Adams became the assistant principal at Vinemont in 1975 before taking over as principal in 1982 for Elton Hall. He also helped perform many athletic duties during his tenure until his retirement in 1996.
“What’s so great is when I’m out, my former players and students will come up to me and talk,” Adams said. “I always wanted to touch young peoples’ lives, and it means so much to me when that happens.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.