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Adams Era Begins for T-Birds

Adams Era Begins for T-Birds photo
Deron Clark, Luke Adams, Ron Black and Jeff McCool

4/17/2018 2:08:12 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

[Story by Jason Farmer - Hobbs News Sun]

His name has been floating out in town for about a week now, but Friday afternoon, New Mexico Junior College made it official when 26-year-old Luke Adams was introduced as the Thunderbirds’ ninth head men’s basketball coach.

When Adams was introduced to the public, the new head coach promised to deliver a winner.

“That is one of the things that is intriguing about this job, they have always had talent here,” Adams said.

“Now let’s take the next step and get those talented players and see how we can make them play together and for one another.” Deron Clark, the Thunderbirds athletic director, said NMJC had many people interested in the opening, but when it came down to the interviews, Adams was a unanimous selection. “We (NMJC) were just really humbled by the fact that we had 150 applicants,” Clark said. “The process of weeding through that and paying respects to the people who took the time to fill out those applications was tiring to say the least, but we did.

“We came up with a large group of about 40 people who met the requirements that we put in place to be eligible for the position,” Clark continued. “We went through those and evaluated coaching experiences and what they could bring to the table for New Mexico Junior College and narrowed that down to the three people we interviewed, Luke being one of those. As soon as we finished the process of that and got back together with the (hiring) committee, it was a unanimous decision.” Adams loves the fact that he is coming to a basketball crazy town.

“It means everything,” he said. “There is a lot of greatness here and it just hasn’t been discovered yet. I think anytime you have passion and fans like that, that what makes basketball. That is why I coach. … Anytime you can have a crowd like that, just within the community and the town, that is what sports is all about.”

Adams is a first-year head coach, but comes to NMJC with three years of experience as an assistant coach. This past season, Adams was an assistant with Seward County Community College. During his one year in Liberal, Kan., the Saints went 18-14. Prior to the Saints, Adams was an assistant with South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. During his time with the Texans, South Plains went 53-11 and finished third in the 2016-17 national tournament.

“I am looking forward to the daily grind and making the decisions,” Adams said. “I have been giving suggestions my whole life to my dad when I was in the seventh grade all the way up, so I am really blessed to be able to make those calls and to take ownership in who we recruit and who we bring in here.”

While Adams is new to the head coaching, he is not new to the coaching world, nor is he new to the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. Not only did he work as an assistant coach in the WJCAC for two years, but also he grew up around the WJCAC. His father, current Texas Tech assistant coach Mark Adams, was the head coach at Howard College for nine seasons, as well as one year at Clarendon College. His father won a national championship with Howard College back in 2010.

“I know (the conference) like the back of my hand,” Adams said. “I remember when Chris Tifft and James Miller were the head coaches here. I also played with a teammate who played here. From a coaching standpoint and a talent standpoint, I think this (conference) has the best coaches and players in the country.”

Adams is excited about the coaches he will be going up against and the players he will be putting on the court to play his style of basketball.

“Being in this league, this is a good conference,” Adams said. “I think you can get the best players because the best players want to play in the best conference.”

He has not yet met with any of the possible returning players, but that will come soon.

“We have to talk and figure things out,” Adams said. “First thing I will do is listen and see what they are looking for. They are checking me out and I am checking them out.”

With the head coaching position now filled, next on the list of things to do is to hire an assistant coach. Adams and Clark will work on that together.

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