New coach Darrell Adams preparing U of T football players for success in the game of life

For new coach Darrell Adams, success isn't just limited to what happens on the field.

Darrell Adams overlooks his new team at the University of Toronto during a practice session on Friday, March 8. (Photo: Howard Bailey/Centennial College) 

TORONTO – Darrell Adams, the new head coach of the University of Toronto men’s football team, seems to be a bit of a MacGyver.

Adams, 40, spent the last seven years at the University of Waterloo in positions of increasing responsibility – special teams, recruiting and video coordinator, defensive line coach then assistant head coach. In 2013, Adams was named the defensive line coach and strength coordinator at Carleton, which reinstated its football program in 2011 after it was disbanded in 1998.

In both of those stops, Adams was instrumental in returning his teams to post-season competition. The Warriors returned to the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in 18 years and qualified in four of the past five seasons with Adams on the sidelines. The former NFL and CFL defensive lineman also helped the Ravens qualify for the playoffs in 2015 only two seasons after their return to competition.

Adams took over the Varsity Blues program in January and has taken a wholistic approach to the young men that he coaches as well as his football program. His first step was to “assemble a staff of high character guys that I have a personal relationship with – guys that I respect, trust and love outside of football.”

“We’re working with young men aged 18 to 25,” Adams said. “We have to be able to embody what the future could look like.”

Step 2 was introducing his three core principles of respect, trust and love to his players.

“The first thing I did after I introduced myself, my name, I told them that I don’t even know you guys, but I respect you,” he said. “I trust you and I love you and it’s your job not to disrupt that and it’s my job to earn your respect, trust and love.”

His positive attitude, energy and enthusiasm have been contagious, causing players to buy into his championship mentality. Although the Blues missed the playoffs last season, there are still a number of players on the team who helped Toronto make it back to the playoffs in consecutive years in 2021 and 2022 after a 20-year absence.

“We made playoffs two years while I was here,” stated one returning player when asked about his expectations for the upcoming season. “We still have the same guys, the same talent to do it. It’s just the mental side of it. So if we’re able to put our mind to it, I think we can do it.”

In addition to teaching his players fitness and football, Adams is also focused on equipping them for success now and in the future.

“Teaching these guys how to be comfortable in your skin is something I prioritize,” Adams said.

“One of the main reasons I coach is to help these guys to achieve their dreams, hit their goals both on and off the field. So for me, success isn’t just limited to what’s happening on the field, wins and losses. Success is helping guys maximize their potential.”

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Posted: Mar 10 2024 6:24 pm
Filed under: Football Sports