2016 COACHING-BASKETBALL INDUCTEE
The Laton native put his indelible stamp on the National Basketball Association and the college game in a coaching career that began at Fresno Pacific in 1969 and soared highest in 2015 when the Golden State Warriors won the NBA title.
Then Fresno State Coach Boyd Grant dubbed him his “Secretary of Defense” in the 1980s. Former NBA star and Coach Paul Silas called Adams “one of the finest defensive strategists in the world.” Many credit him as the “father” of the matchup-zone defense.
To say that Adams loves basketball is an understatement. He averaged 27 points a game his senior season at Laton High School. He went on to play and coach at Fresno Pacific, where he compiled a 44-36 record as head coach.
After Grant left Fresno State, Adams became the Bulldogs’ head coach. He served four seasons, and then embarked on a coaching odyssey in which he would be recognized as both a defensive genius and one of the NBA’s best assistant coaches.
For example, he was Tom Thibou’s right-hand man on the Chicago Bulls’ highly successful teams of 2010-13. Prior to that, he was assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who in one season went from last place to first place in defensive field-goal percentage.
Before joining the Warriors, Adams was a valuable asset for the Boston Celtics, helping them launch a successful rebuilding effort under Coach Brad Stevens.
It was a match made in heaven when Adams became the defensive strategist for Coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors. They won their first NBA title in 40 years in 2015 and in 2016 they set the NBA record for regular-season victories with 73.
Said Kerr about Adams: “I wanted someone to motivate me with their thoughts and ideas, someone who enjoys teaching and development.”
Wherever he has been, Adams has been an innovator, a teacher and a motivator to both players and coaches.