Longtime Burton football coach Jimbo Adams dies at 62 – Kingsport Times News

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Updated: May 25, 2022 @ 9:14 am
Former J.I. Burton coach James ‘Jimbo’ Adams died Monday after several years of health problems. He was 62.
Former J.I. Burton football coach Jim ‘Jimbo’ Adams died Monday. He was 62.
Former J.I. Burton coach James ‘Jimbo’ Adams died Monday after several years of health problems. He was 62.
Former J.I. Burton football coach Jim ‘Jimbo’ Adams died Monday. He was 62.
NORTON — The most successful football coach in J.I. Burton history died Monday.
After battling several health problems for the past few years, James “Jimbo” Adams died Monday afternoon, family members confirmed. He was 62.
Adams was the head football coach at Burton for 21 seasons, his last coming in 2019 when the Raiders finished 9-3.
A mainstay at the Norton school for more than four decades, Adams also coached the Burton baseball team for eight seasons.
He graduated from Burton in 1979, where he played football.
Adams served an assistant coach with the football program for 18 years before taking over as head coach.
After dismal seasons his first three years, Adams then took the Raiders to the postseason for 18 consecutive seasons.
His teams amassed a 175-81 record during his head coaching career, making five trips to the state championship game and winning six regional titles and six district championships.
For most of his coaching career, Adams directed Burton in the always-tough Lonesome Pine District, which became a victim of consolidation and disbanded in the summer 2012.
“Jimbo Adams made J.I. Burton a real factor in the LPD,” said retired VHSL Hall of Famer Phil Robbins, who coached against Adams for many years while at Powell Valley. “He installed an offense and defense to suit his players to a T.”
Competing in the LPD was especially challenging for Burton coaches because some of the member schools were twice as big or larger.
“But he held his own,” retired Burton basketball coach Stan Wilson, a longtime colleague and friend of Adams, said Monday. “His teams were always competitive and won more than their share against those teams.”
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Wilson said Adams was a hard-working coach and was always striving for ways to make the program better.
“The success of the program lies strictly with how hard he worked,” Wilson said.
Part of that hard work was Adams’ meticulous planning.
“Anytime, practice or a game, we knew where we were supposed to be and when we were supposed to be there,” said Ray Thacker, a longtime assistant coach under Adams as well as a lifelong friend. “He was a schedule person. He had a schedule for everything and he expected everyone to follow it.
“I think that was one reason he was such a successful coach.”
Thacker said the main reason for Adams’ success, however, came down to one word: discipline.
“He demanded discipline,” said Thacker, who served on Adams’ staff from 2002 to 2019. “His main thing was discipline and he treated every kid the same. It didn’t matter if you were a stud player or a second-string or third-string player, he treated everyone the same and he disciplined everyone the same.”
Thacker said Adams was a father figure to the players who came through the program.
“I watched a lot of kids who came in headed in the wrong direction and he made sure they got turned around and headed in the right direction,” Thacker said. “I still see some of those guys now, a long time after they’ve played, and they’re still going in the right direction.”
That’s the legacy that Adams left, Thacker said.
“He was one of a kind. He will be missed,” Thacker said.
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