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Mike Adams steps down after coaching Edward Little boys basketball for 23 years

Apr. 10—Edward Little coach Mike Adams is stepping down after leading the Auburn school's boys basketball program for 23 years, a tenure that featured a pair of state championships and four regional titles.

"You know, it was a hard decision," Adams said Wednesday. "I'm just at a point in my life right now — and there's a lot of factors — and when the season ended, you know, I really sat down and thought a lot about it in terms of what was best for me, what was best for my family."

The 52-year-old Adams said the primary factor is spending more time with his wife, Aimee, daughter Lindsey and son Marshal, who will graduate from Edward Little this spring.

"They've been there right from the beginning," Adams said, "and they were they were very clear, they didn't want me to get done because of them. And I'm not. I'm being a little bit selfish and ... not getting done because of them, but because of me and I want to have that time with them."

Lindsey Adams, 21, was recently hired to teach at Fairview Elementary School in Auburn and is living at home. Marshal, one of Edward Little's leading scorers this season, is planning to attend flight school in the South.

Mike Adams said that dropping off Lindsey at Thomas College was difficult enough, so it won't be easy when Marshal is living several states away.

"Now she's home, which is great. We love having her here for as long as she wants," Mike Adams said. "And then boom, Marshal's going to go, and it's like, 'Oh, my God, that's going to be tough.' But that's part of life. And now, you know, he'll be in South Carolina. We'll be able to go down there when we want to and visit him. and do some of those things. So looking forward to that, too."

Adams led the Red Eddies to state titles in 2018 and 2020, and four regional championships in 2009, '10, '18, and '20. The 2018 state title was the program's first since 1946.

Adams became Edward Little's winningest basketball coach in 2011. He reached 300 victories in 2021 and finishes with 330 wins, which is more than any boys or girls basketball high school coach in Auburn or Lewiston.

"It's really a huge loss because Mike isn't just a varsity basketball coach. He's run our whole program," Edward Little Athletic Director Todd Sampson said. "He's in the gym all summer with the Red Eddie basketball camp, you know, with third- through eighth-graders, and taking them to summer games and taking his high school kids to team camps in all these different states.

"He's the varsity coach on paper, but he was really like the CEO of basketball in Auburn. He was the man. He did it all."

Adams recently was announced as a member of the 2024 Maine Basketball Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted on Aug. 11 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Adams also had a standout career as a player.

He was named the 1990 Mr. Maine Basketball recipient following his senior season at Mt. Blue. At Edward Little, he coached a pair of Mr. Maine Basketball award winners, Troy Barnies in 2007 and John Shea in 2022.

Last year, he was part of the first class of Mt. Blue Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.

After high school, Adams had a stellar career at Thomas College from 1990-94. When he was inducted into the Thomas College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007, he ranked sixth on the Terriers' career scoring list (1,521 points) and third in rebounds.

When Adams was hired to lead the Edward Little boys program before the 2001-2002 season, the Red Eddies were two years removed from an 18-0 regular season but were coming off a 6-12 campaign.

Adams guided the team to consecutive 15-3 records his first two seasons before encountering his first rebuild. The Eddies went 2-16 in 2003-04 and 6-12 the following season.

Those were the program's only losing seasons and its only single-digit-win seasons (other than the coronavirus-shortened 2021 season) until the past couple years — a 17-year stretch of at least 10 victories.

"Unbelievably consistent," Sampson said. "And I think that goes to him developing those young kids, always just kind of refueling the talent level."

Adams credits the Red Eddies' offseason work for their consistency.

"It's 100 percent summer. There's no question," he said. "High school sports, it is going to have peaks and valleys, and we're not UConn, where we're able to recruit and get the players that we want or need in every year. So you're kind of at the mercy of what you got coming in, you know?

"There have been a lot of years where talent-wise or athlete-wise we weren't as good as a lot of the other teams, but because of what our kids do in the summertime, we've been able to kind of overachieve and do more than we should have because of their commitment to the program."

That summer program also makes coaching basketball a year-round job.

"As soon as school gets out, you're going right hard," Adams said.

He said his summer days usually start at about 7:30 a.m. with camps and continue with high school leagues until 9 p.m.

"When the weekend comes, you're like, OK, it's not time to go on a beach vacation, it's time to just lay low and relax and try to get your legs back for, for the next week,' you know?" Adams said.

The Adams family's vacations were the out-of-state camps the Red Eddies attended — at locations like West Point, Marshall University, N.C. State, or Daytona Beach — to which the players' families were also invited.

Basketball season also takes up the holiday vacation and February's winter break.

"My wife forever has put up with everything," Adams said. "There's a special place in heaven for the spouses of coaches and what they put up with and hear and listen to ... they're special people and nobody can really appreciate what they go through.

"So it was time, from that standpoint, at 52 (years old) to give some of those things back."

Edward Little lost the 2009 Class A title game by two points, 54-52, to Thornton then fell 55-50 in the following season's state championship, which was vacated by Cheverus for using an ineligible player.

Other than 2021, when no postseason was held due to COVID-19, the Red Eddies reached five consecutive Class AA North finals. Their most recent appearance, in John Shea's dominant final season, they lost to Oxford Hills on a last-second shot by Teigan Pelletier in overtime.

Edward Little has struggled the past two seasons since Shea moved on to the University of Maine men's basketball team. The Eddies finished 6-12 last year and 5-13 this season, both seasons ending with first-round playoff losses.

But those seasons were still special to Adams. They all were, but the past three have included Marshal on the team.

Since he was little, Marshal Adams spent his summers joining his dad at all of the Edward Little camps and then running the score clock at the high school scrimmages later in the day. His commitment to the Red Eddies continued when he reached high school.

"He was a dream," Mike Adams said. "Everything I could have imagined and more. Never coached anybody who's put as much time into the game as him."

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