In 13-year run as head coach, Lions compiled three state titles and a 261-86 record
LYNDEN — Lynden girls basketball coach Rob Adams is stepping down from his position after coaching the Lions for 13 seasons.
In his time as head coach, Adams guided the team to three state championships, the most recent coming just three weeks ago in Yakima.
Adams said he made the decision to resign because he wants to have the time to watch his own sons play sports.
“I spend a lot of time coaching everybody else’s kids and I don’t want to be the dad that misses out on all those stories,” he said.
Adams was recently named coach of the year across all classifications by the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association for the Lions’ run this season. It was the second time he was chosen for the award.
In his 13 seasons at the helm, Lynden compiled a 261-86 record, 12 trips to the state tournament, 10 trophies, six semifinal appearances and three state championships.
“We created a monster,” Adams said. “To be lucky enough to get a trophy in 10 out of 12 and get three state championships, it was just crazy.”
That monster was formed through the culture Adams and his coaching staff have been able to build for more than a decade. A culture built upon the idea of simply outworking the competition.
“We didn’t necessarily win a state championship every year and at the end of the day that’s not always the goal,” Adams said. “We don’t cut corners and we don’t manipulate stuff to give us an advantage. We just show up with our lunch pails and hard hats and work hard everyday.”
Stepping back from the program coming off of a state championship is a little bittersweet, Adams said, because he knows there’s talent coming back next year capable of making another postseason run.
“If I put on my coach's hat, it makes it really hard to walk away because I think there’s a lot of talent in our program, but when I put on my parent hat, I’ve just gotten to the point where I want to be like the rest of the parents,” Adams said. “I want to enjoy watching my kids do what they like to do.”
Lynden senior Liv Tjoelker, one of six seniors for the Lions this year, played for Adams for the last four years and was part of two state title teams.
She said Adams taught them more than just the game of basketball.
“He helped me find out who I want to be as a player and person and that is more valuable than anything,” Tjoelker said. “He would always remind us he cared about us. Sometimes, I threw the ball to the other team and he’d let me know about that too.”
Tjoelker attributed Adams’ coaching style and approach to the game as a whole, both on and off the court, as reasons why the Lions were able to attain the success they’ve had over the last 13 years.
“We didn’t always have the best basketball players, but we always had the hardest workers and that got us farther than so many other teams,” she said. “That culture of working harder than everyone else and having fun while doing it. We’re about winning games, but also winning in life and just getting better everyday.”
Sitting in the stands next year will be a much different look for Adams, but he said he’s ready to just watch his kids and spend time with his family.
“My family has been so supportive over the last 13 years. I’ve missed anniversaries and some birthdays,” he said. “As a parent, I just wanted to be a fan of my own kids. It’s the right time to go.”