Adamski era starts at Trinity
Bryan Adamski wasn’t sure how to spend his 29th birthday on July 1.
The Whately native and North Adams Steeplecats baseball coach was supposed to go golfing with some of his assistant coaches from North Adams, but a rain shower put an end to those plans. Not sure what to do, the group made the decision to head to the Berkshire Mall, where Adamski said they planned to “kill time.” As the group was passing in front of Footlocker, Adamski’s cell phone rang and the person on the other end made his heart jump. It was Trinity College Athletic Director Mike Renwick calling to give Adamski the best birthday present he could imagine by informing him he had been chosen as the new Bantams baseball coach.
“When my phone rang that day and I saw it was a Hartford number, it was the first time in my life that my heart leapt,” Adamski recalled. “Mike went into this quick spiel that seemed like 10 minutes, and then he said, ‘After exhausting a lot of time and leaving no stone unturned, you’ve arisen as the top candidate for the head coaching job and we’d like to offer it to you. As soon as he got that out, my heart started pounding out of my chest again.”
The Trinity job became available after Greenfield native Bill Decker left the school to take the head coaching job at Harvard University last fall. Trinity named former Decker assistant Mark Lambert as interim head coach this spring, then posted the job at the end of the season.
This marks the first collegiate head coaching job for the 2002 Frontier Regional School graduate and 2007 UMass-Amherst grad. Adamski has been an assistant coach for the past five years at Amherst College, where legendary retired Lord Jeffs coach Bill Thurston gave him his first big break into a coaching career.
Following his UMass graduation, Adamski took a shot at playing professional baseball in the Midwest in the independent Frontier League. Rosters were full at that point of the season, however, and Adamski was battling injuries at the same time, so he came back to the area and got a job at Gold’s Gym in Amherst. That winter, Thurston was seeking an assistant coach and learned that Adamski’s hours at Gold’s (5 a.m. until 1 p.m.) fit the schedule.
Thurston retired from Amherst in 2009, but Brian Hamm, who was the top assistant under Thurston for four years, took over and kept Adamski on the staff, first as a hitting coach and then as a pitching coach. In 2010, Adamski served as an assistant coach on the Holyoke Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League for one season. Last summer, Adamski got his first head coaching job when he received the Steeplecats job, also of the NECBL. Adamski was back coaching the Steeplecats this season but had to resign from the job following a doubleheader on July 6 to begin the Trinity job.
“I got some really good breaks,” Adamski said of both the Amherst and North Adams jobs. “I was very fortunate to get my start with Bill, and (former Steeplecats general manager) Sean McGrath showed a lot of faith in me to give me my first head coaching job.”
Adamski guided the Steeplecats to a 22-20 regular-season record last season and was back on the sidelines as an assistant at Amherst this season when the Jeffs won a school record 27 games and made it all the way to the NCAA Division III Regional Finals. One of those 27 wins came in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament when Amherst earned a 8-5 victory over Trinity.
Adamski believes there were around 160 applicants for the Trinity job. The school bypassed the phone-interview phase, instead narrowing the field down to six applicants who were brought to campus for final interviews. Adamski interviewed on June 20. He then waited 11 days to hear back one way or another until the phone rang in front of Footlocker.
“I felt like my interview went well,” he said. “But I think it’s human nature to prepare yourself for not getting the call, so that if Mike were to call me and say, ‘Sorry Bryan, we went in another direction,’ you don’t want your world to come crashing down, so to speak. But to get the other side of it was pretty surreal.”
While this marks the first collegiate head coaching job for Adamski, he does come into the job having played for and worked with a number of men he deemed influential. He said he has taken things away from many of those men, including two at Frontier.
“I wasn’t even going to play basketball in high school before Marty Sanderson talked me into it,” he began. “Marty was the best motivator I’ve ever been around. We literally would have run through a wall for him. And playing for him was the first time I learned that I had leadership ability. And my baseball coach at Frontier was Dave Buckley. He was great. The passion and energy he brought got us excited to play baseball.”
Adamski went on to play for Mike Stone at UMass and he said it was here that he learned the importance of a great coach at what is a critical point in a young person’s life.
“You had to be a man to play baseball at UMass,” Adamski said. “That made me a tougher person on and off the field and it’s part of the reason I wanted to coach at the collegiate level. A college coach can be very influential during an important time in a kid’s life.”
He now takes over a program Decker put on the map in 2008 along with Greenfield natives Jeremiah Bayer and Sean Killeen. That year the Bantams won the NCAA Division III World Series. Adamski, whose contract demands he teach a pair of physical education classes, began work on July 8, and he has no plans of leaving any time soon. He said that not only does the college have a good athletic department, but working at a high-level academic institute is exactly what he wanted.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” he concluded. “I want to continue to develop my coaching ability here and don’t know what job I would ever leave Trinity for.”