Category: Football

LU grad, former assistant coach Adams dies

Richard “Sparky” Adams, a 1955 Lawrence University graduate, died on April 22.

Adams was a coach, teacher and athletic administrator during a career that spanned more than four decades.

A native of Kimberly, Wis., Adams graduated from Lawrence in 1955 and played linebacker and back on the Vikings’ football team. Adams spent more than a decade coaching football, basketball, wrestling, baseball and track and serving as a director of athletics at the prep level.

Adams moved on to the collegiate level in 1969 and was an assistant coach at Drake University until 1973. Adams moved to Chadron State, where he was the head coach for six seasons and compiled a record of 31-17. Adams took the head coaching job at Bemidji State in 1979 to rebuild its football program.

Adams moved to the University of Dubuque to become the defensive coordinator from 1982-85. He also served as the school’s head baseball coach.

Adams returned to the high school level in 1985 and worked as the assistant principal, community education director and director of athletics at Unity High School. Adams then was the the principal and director of athletics at Pittsville High School from 1990 until his retirement in 1994.

In retirement, Adams continued to coach. He was an assistant football coach at Carroll University from 1995-98 and was the defensive line coach at Lawrence in 1999.

Adams is survived by his wife, Inge, and two children.

Services are set for Saturday, May 1, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 211 Main St., Mukwonago, Wis. The visitation will be from 9-11 a.m. with the service at 11 a.m.