Campus Life

Adams assumes leadership role

It's not as though Dave Adams (BEd '82) was looking for a job – it just so happened that the job came calling for him.

The new head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men's basketball program has been a teacher, a principal and a business manager but those roles only masked what Adams felt was always his destiny.

"My life was blessed with parents who instilled in me a work ethic and more importantly, a courage to follow my passions and my dreams," says Adams. "Most people are going to shake their heads at this, taking a risk, making a career change. To me, you have to follow your heart, your dreams and your passion. This was the right time and place."

He was in the right place once before but the timing was off. A one-year stint as the Horns interim head coach in 2001-02 didn't last when he was passed over for the full-time position for Mike Connolly. When Connolly resigned that position this spring, Adams again threw his hat into the ring.

"It comes down to being a proud alumni, a proud former player and a proud former coach," says Adams. "Experience helps me understand the essence, the spirit, the heart and courage of being a Horn. It's a calling, and even though it's a piece I didn't see coming back in my life, here I am, once again."

A Pronghorns player from 1976-81, Adams made the most of his BEd degree, delving directly into teaching at Catholic Central High School. He also started a second basketball career, this time as a coach. He would continue to teach by day and coach by night, eventually taking the helm at Lethbridge College and leading the Kodiaks for four successful seasons (including an ACAC silver medal and two bronze medals).

Eventually, Adams would find his way back to the U of L, assisting Dave Crook from 1999 through 2001. Along the way he would work with the provincial basketball program (1993-97) and get a shot at the national level, working with the Basketball Canada Centre for Performance from 2004 to 2006. All the while he was a school principal (St. Francis Junior High School) and most recently, executive director of Lethbridge Family Services.

It might look like a circuitous route but the touchstone over time has always been the U of L. It's a legacy Adams wants to share with his fellow alumni to help reengage what he terms "Horns Nation".

"We're sitting on 39 years of teams here. One of the big things we need to do is go back to 39 years of Pronghorns and say come on guys, come on back to the table and sit with us, and let's do this together," Adams says. "Dave Adams, in isolation, the Horns, in isolation, will never reach that dream of winning a national championship, it must be us collectively as a Horns Nation that does that."

There's an effusive energy about Adams that invites grand ideas, and the new coach does not shy away from his goal of bringing a national title to southern Alberta, despite taking over a program that has missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.

"I would not be sitting here today if my goal for Horns Nation was not to win a national championship," he says.

"To me, it's a challenge that the U of L has reached in several sports, those are proud moments in our history and there's no reason for me, at this point in my life or career, to come here for any other reason."


• Adams averaged 11.9 points per game playing for the Horns in the 1980-81 season. He totalled 76 games in a Pronghorns uniform over his career

• An avid distance runner, Adams trains for both marathons and triathlons. He is currently the national champion for his age group in sprint distance and is a six-time Canadian National Triathlon Team member. He is currently training for the World Triathlon Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.

• Adams' U of L ties run deep. He is married to Assistant Dean, Field Experience, Faculty of Education, Dr. Pamela Adams. Their daughter, Brittney, is a second-year political science student at the U of L

• Adams has the endorsement of his players. "I'm excited, his style of coaching is something I really feel good about," says guard Quinn Van Gaalen.