Physical ailments force Adams to resign

Led Belpre’s football program for eight years

File photo Greg Adams addresses the Belpre High football team during a practice last season.

BELPRE — Physical problems, chiefly with his heart and knees, have forced Greg Adams, Belpre High School’s head football coach for the last eight years, to submit his resignation at the recommendation of his doctors.

Adams, 62, who was 38-54 at Belpre, thinks “it’s an easy transition” for the Golden Eagle football program if his nominee Dirk Leftwich, who has served as Adams’ assistant head coach as well as both offensive and defensive coordinators during the eight years, is the one that gets the job he’s vacating.

“All the work that the coaches put in over the last eight years will go for naught if you bring somebody else in and have to start all over again,” said Adams.

“No question, Dirk loves the game and knows the game; he knows these kids back when they were in seventh and eighth-grade football, and they know him. With this program that we have set up and with coach Leftwich in charge, me knowing the complete program can always help from behind.”

For Adams, whose best years at the Belpre grid helm were back-to-back 8-3 seasons in 2014 and 2015 with attaining two state playoff berths, but losing out in the first round both times, “my retiring is because of the every-day grind on my joints and the stress on my heart,” he related.

In fact, the heart problems started on year 1 for Adams, who missed the first two or three games. Then when he got the OK to come back, Adams spent some time in the press box watching the games, but not for long, as he went back down on the sidelines. “I had to be very careful, though, when I went down there on the field,” he said. So Adams mostly sat in the safety of a golf cart along the sidelines.

Of course, when Adams was a senior playing football for Belpre, he injured a knee that got even more hurt in football at Marietta College as a freshman, so much so that it still bothers him to this day as he walks with a limp. Then in 2015, Adams suffered broken bones, both his tibia and fibula, in his other leg along with a fractured shoulder in one of those sideline incidents he dreaded.

When Adams, a former Belpre grid standout in high school, accepted the job as head football coach at his alma mater, “it was a dream come true for me,” he said. “I told the administration that they might get 10 or 12 years out of me, but they’ve only gotten eight.”

That’s because his “health issues are just to the point,” Adams explained, “where my doctors are not going to permit me any more to do what I still want do, and that’s coach football. They said I just shouldn’t be out on the football field — period.”

So he admits that all the physical ailments “really haven’t made it much fun for quite a while, and not just for football.”

Adams came to “the tough decision to resign the week before last. I’m still inside, though, wanting to fight it, but know it’s the end. I really have no other choice.

“So I want to thank all the people who put in the time to help build the program and make it work.”

For Adams nevertheless, “no matter what happens” with whoever his successor will be captaining Belpre football this fall, “I wish all the players, the program and the team all the best in the future,” he stated.