Longtime Madison East girls’ basketball coach James Adams is moving on to new challenges. Earlier this week, he has announced that he has accepted an assistant coaching position for the Madison College women’s basketball team.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to move up and to work with young adults, especially in a field and a profession that I’m so passionate about,” Adams tells Madison365.
Adams, who was named Big Eight coach of the year in 2016-17 along with Sun Prairie coach John Olson, led the Purgolders to three regional championships and to the sectional finals two years in a row. Adams’ teams were regularly top-10 in the state in both 2016 and 2017.
Adams doesn’t see a huge difference in coaching at Madison College versus Madison East.
“It’s not different than coaching a seventh-grader. I will continue to help develop their fundamentals and keep them on the right path in life,” he says. “I think the difference for me, personally, is that I’ve been a head coach for so long so this will be a little bit of an adjustment. Being an assistant coach, you don’t have the opportunity to make all of the calls.
“I was an assistant coach at Madison West 12-13 years ago and that was kind of my stepping stone. It really gave me the opportunity to learn,” he adds.
Adams says he’s excited to work with Madison College Head Coach Lois Heeren, who was named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Junior College-Women Coach of the Year following the 2017-2018 season.
“I met Coach Heeren a couple of years ago. She’s recruited a lot of my kids over the years,” Adams says. “We’ve always had a good, positive relationship. We had a long conversation and we both felt like it was a good fit.”
Coach Adams is also looking forward to once again coaching some of his former players at Madison East who are attending Madison College, also on Madison’s east side.
“Oh, yeah. Jayla [Conners] is a former player of mine who is a freshman. We just had a conversation,” Adams says. “Aireyanna Conners, who played a year at Fort Valley State, is going to transfer in. Justice Filip, who was at Kirkwood [Community College] … she’s transferring in. We should be able to develop a nice little nucleus of players who came up on my squad. They are all excited.”
It was a hard decision for Adams to leave Madison East and the big east side family he has gotten to know over the years. But he’s not going to be far away at Madison College. Adams says that he has nothing but fondness and great memories at Madison East.
“When I first came to Wisconsin, I went to Madison East as a freshman. I played JV and varsity. I’m always a Purgolder,” he says. “I bleed purple and gold. Had some really great years at East. I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
He’s excited about the potential he sees next season as an assistant coach at Madison College Women’s basketball program. The Madison College women’s basketball program won the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III title back in 2010 after finishing as runner-up the year before.
“We’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to press,” he says. “We’re going to challenge kids every night to compete.
“I believe with all of the talents that coach has coming back and if we really work, we have a team that will go to the national tournament,” he adds. “We can be really good. Coach is bringing in a lot of players from around the area that will be solid.”