Coach taught more than just football

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2000

Today is a joyous celebration of hope and faith.

Saturday, April 22, 2000

Today is a joyous celebration of hope and faith.

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So, in keeping with the spirit of Easter Sunday, we would like to memorialize someone for whom hope and faith were a way of life.

Paul Adams of Ironton passed away April 6 after a long illness, and the long-time coach, coach and guidance counselor literally touched and molded thousands of young lives throughout his career with the South Point School District as well as other schools in Ohio and West Virginia.

Paul’s wife, Betty, graciously shared some of the many tributes that have poured in for Paul, one of which was from Dr. Bob Heaberlin, who now serves as principal of a middle school in Georgia. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Heaberlin’s tribute:

"Few people have meant as much to me in my life as Paul Adams. Paul hired me as an eighth-grade football coach in 1973 in Logan at the age of 22 years. I coached with Paul for three years, but during that time I learned more about life than at any time during my now 28 years in education. Paul not only taught me everything I know about football, but also such things as loyalty, perseverance, empathy and dedication.

"Throughout the years, I watched Paul working to get kids scholarships and financial aid to go to college. Some of the kids had played ball for him while most of them were regular students at the schools where he was not only coaching, but also the guidance counselor. Several students and athletes who were at competing schools also received help from Paul in getting financial aid.

"Many were the times that Paul and Betty’s house was filled with kids spending the night to be able to get up the next day and be taken to a college for a visit at Paul’s own expense.

"Paul was a loving father and husband. He helped Betty raise four fine kids in Crystal, Denise, Craig and Tammy. I learned from Betty how to prepare spaghetti several different ways and to feed the multitudes when you were low on money. Paul and Betty were always a part of the kids’ lives and functions. That is the way it should be.

"Because of the mentoring of Paul Adams, I have been successful as an athletic director, coach, teacher, guidance counselor and school administrator. Paul always taught me to set my goals high and work hard to achieve those goals. The pride that coaches and teachers embellish in their lives is the success that comes from those whom they have coached, mentored or helped guide along the way of life. Success and winning never come easy, and they are hollow without remembering those who helped you along the way.

"Thanks, Coach."

Holidays always brought a flood of mail at the Adams’ home, Betty said this week as she tearfully recalled the many students who would write their coach years after leaving his tutelage and thank him for helping set them on a strong and sturdy path in life.

Paul Adams always had a cause ­ or causes ­ that kept him active even after illness began to take a severe toll on him.

He cared about others, and he had a firm belief that positive thinking and success were irreversibly linked.

Paul knew that athletics were merely a stepping stone to greater achievements, and it was that belief that led him to include the following in his coaching manuals:

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think that you dare not ­ you don’t.

If you think that you’d like to win,

But you think you can’t

It’s almost a cinch that you won’t.

For out in the world you find

Success begins with a fellow’s will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

For many a race is lost

Before ever a step is run,

And many a coward fails

Before his work’s begun.

Think big, and your deeds will grow;

Think small, and you’ll fall behind;

Think that you can and you will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are.

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You have to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or the faster man,

But sooner or later the man who wins

Is the fellow who thinks he can.

Paul Adams was colorful, flamboyant and driven to help others. He truly was one of a kind, and we will not see his like again.

The area has lost a dear friend, and we all will miss him.

Jennifer Allen is publisher of The Ironton Tribune.