A Natural Born Leader
Oct. 7, 2006
By Patricia Sutton
Special to GoHolyCross.com
At only 5-foot-10, senior linebacker Dan Adams has proven himself to be one of the most feared players in the Patriot League. His stats tell it all. After a junior season that saw him finish first in the nation in solo tackles and third in the Patriot League in total tackles, as well as setting a new NCAA record across all divisions for solo tackles in a game (21 against Colgate), Adams has wasted little time in his senior campaign picking up where he left off. In the Crusaders' first outing of the season against Georgetown, Adams led the team with eight total tackles, including six solo stops and three tackles for loss. His efforts resulted in being recognized as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and the Boston Globe Gold Helmet recipient as the Division I-AA New England Player of the Week. With 41 more tackles this year, Adams will move into the all-time Holy Cross top 10 in career tackles. This might make some players overconfident, but not Adams. Anyone who knows Adams immediately can see how gracious and humble he is, despite his many accolades. "I'm an undersized player but Holy Cross believed in me and gave me the opportunity to play," said Adams. "Football has made me who I am today. The experience has been great and I'm thankful everyday to put on my uniform and represent Holy Cross."
Adams also cherishes being able to continue a family legacy. Adams' father, Ron, starred as a fullback at Division II Catawba College in North Carolina. He was recently elected to the school's hall of fame as the fourth all-time leading rusher. Adams recognizes that his father has had a great influence on his development, helping him to become the player he is today, "He's real intense and loves football," said Adams. "He states it like it is, and never sugar coats anything. We share the same love for the game. Football is very special to me because it is something that I can share on a personal level with my father. Him being at every game is really important to me." More importantly, Adams takes pride in the success his father had, despite coming from a single parent family and humble beginnings. Growing up, Adams always knew he wanted to follow in his fathers footsteps. But Adams has not completed his goal yet. "Ultimately, I hope with each game that I play I can slowly start to give back and help inspire others like my father inspired me," said Adams.
This year, Adams has taken on a new role as a senior captain, a role he has come into with ease. "Being the hardest worker and most passionate player on the field, Dan leads by example," explained head coach Tom Gilmore about how Adams has evolved into being a captain. "In his role, he must also speak up at the appropriate times, and Dan never hesitates to do that either. He raises the level of those around him by the way he prepares and plays. This is what you would want most from a captain." Some players may see being a captain as a big responsibility with sacrifices -- Adams does not see it this way. Again, Adams' gracious attitude and strong sense of family shines when he talks about his role on the team. "Being elected captain is, in my opinion, the greatest honor that one can receive," said Adams. "It is far better than any league or NCAA award because it shows that you are respected by your teammates. My teammates are the most important people in the world to me, they are my friends and they are my family."
The Holy Cross coaching staff and his teammates can certainly count on Adams to take responsibility on the field. In fact, Adams believes accountability among himself and his teammates is what has been a turning point for the Crusaders and will continue to lead Holy Cross football in the right direction for the future. "Our team needs individuals that are ready to compete, go out on a daily basis and work hard in practice," said Adams. "Execution and doing your job every day in practice is key to success." Adams, constantly leading by example, is the first one to display this mentality and hold himself to these standards. Gilmore adds, "Dan has created high expectations for himself. He has proven himself as a player but he is constantly striving to improve in any way possible. He is not content with anything below perfection, so we have come to expect that Dan will continue to raise the level of his game each week. He sets a high standard for himself, and others have come to expect high achievement from him." Adams also credits the change in structure and amount of time put into the program by the players and the coaches as a large part of the Crusaders success.
Adams carries his strong work ethic from practice into games. This is why on game days you will not find Adams looking for luck or practicing any superstitious rituals before he goes out on the field. Instead, Adams believes in quiet, mental preparation for what he will face. "The biggest thing for me is the rehearsal in my head," said Adams. "Going over different situations in my head, makes it so much easier to adjust to the game for me. I'm not a real intense guy, I'm more quiet and focused and I think actions speak louder then words. I strive to be a leader and make the big time plays." Coach Gilmore believes that it is this attitude that has led to Adams' accomplishments on the field, "He is very passionate about the game, works hard at his preparations and plays every play like it's his last," said Gilmore. "This is why he has become the player he is today."
As a natural leader, Adams is less concerned with his own personal accomplishments, and more dedicated to the team's goals. Adams appreciates that the team's ultimate goal this season is to win a Patriot League championship. Putting in so much time and hard work in the off-season, Adams believes if the team trusts in one another and expects that they can win the big games, they will come out on top. In order to do so, Adams also believes that complete focus on the team is essential. Unlike many other seniors looking to the future, Adams' top priority is the current football season. "I don't think it's fair to the team and program to worry about my future endeavors," he remarked. Adams' commitment, work ethic and leadership have paved the way for a future of success in the Holy Cross Football program.
In today's athletic environment, it is sometimes rare to find a player with such high expectations and equally unselfish character. Adams certainly is an exception to the norm. Just as Adams is grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Holy Cross has afforded him, Holy Cross should be equally grateful in return.
This story originally appeared in the October 7 edition of the Holy Cross Gameday program, for the contest between the Crusaders and Brown. To order a copy of the program, click here.