-They are often overlooked.
They log long hours and many observers or fans do not realize the multiple responsibilities they handle. Superstars of multi-tasking, make no mistake. There isn't a successful coach worth his or her salt that does not appreciate the work of their assistant coaches.
Katie Adams, a 2008 Rutgers graduate, fits that description. In her fourth season on the Bucknell University staff, Adams is young from an age perspective yet seasoned and a veteran in the basketball ranks.
During Adams' days in Piscataway the Scarlet Knights enjoyed resounding success. Two sweet Sixteens, an Elite eight and a National Championship game appearance. She was chosen Rutgers Most Inspirational Player in 2006 and 2007.
Coming from the rarified air of the Rutgers program had to make an impression on her younger AAU players. "It did," Adams agreed. "Hearing the Rutgers name, knowing what they did and you played for them gives you a sense of validity as a coach. In the end result that can take you so far. You must prove yourself day to day in practice and in games.
Adams coached several AAU teams in New Jersey the age groups were pre-teen through high school. One of the programs was the New Jersey Cardinals which also had a former Rutgers standout, Kristen Somogyi as one of the program's coaches.
Soon it was off to South Amboy High School as head coach. Her two years at South Amboy saw her club contend in their conference and advance to the New Jersey state Tournament.
Adams played a little semi-professional basketball when she was not directing her program. A tireless worker she was active on the camp circuit and even ventured overseas to run a camp in Ireland back in 2010.
Given her playing, coaching and camp background, the college game was her next progression. She is now in her fourth year on the Bucknell staff. The various levels and their approach to the game have afforded great insight for Adams.
The younger AAU players are wide-eyed and enthusiastic, the college players very talented. To date, the group she enjoyed the most was high school. "They (high school players) are so passionate," Adams said. "They wanted to develop and were at an age you could really teach them the all important ‘life's lessons'."
The collegiate players, especially her group at Bucknell also has that sincere desire to improve. "In college it's different," Adams observed. "They want to improve as well but it's more about working and keeping your scholarship. Player development is a big issue with college players."
Adams, naturally cites Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer as having a profound effect on her. As a coach and person. The mention of defense brings a laugh to Adams. "Oh yes," she said, "we did our share of defensive drills and worked on quite a bit of defense." No surprise. Stringer also left a lasting impression as "emphasizing as a coach th ability to get every ounce of ability from a layer," Adams said. "She (Stringer) wanted you to reach your potential and it was like squeezing the last bit of juice out of an orange. She is a special person and coach."
Adams' current mentor Aaron Roussell affords his assistants the opportunity to get involved in all duties. A former guard, Adams works with the wings and guards. Beyond that is a multiple of duties. "We (assistants) are involved in scouting, film breakdown, on floor practice coaching, recruiting just about all phases," she said. That shows the trust a head coach has in his assistants and prepares them to move on to a head coaching position when the time is right.
Bucknell had defeated FDU in overtime. We are talking outside the Bucknell locker room. Two young women come by to say hello to Adams. They could be friends or former players. If they were the latter they were both. Adams simply has an infectuous passion for the game. And those she teaches.