No matter the task with Derby Junior Football, Grant Adams got it done.
It was that mentality that has flooded minds as the program and the community mourn his March 26 passing at 50 years of age.
Derby High School head coach Brandon Clark said Adams’ goals as a DJF board member weren’t ever to shine a light on his name.
“He would be there to help us clean out the sheds, he’d open up the stadium or shut it down, sit in the press box in 100-plus degree heat and announce games and take care of the referees,” Clark said. “He’d do the jobs like equipment inventory and it’s not the funnest job to do … He was very selfless and in it for the right reasons for sure.”
It is that mentality that Clark said he instilled in his kids, Hailey, Kody and Riley. He coached Riley, a 2016 Derby graduate, and said they were one in the same.
“Grant was a positive influence on our board, the kids and his son,” Clark said. “I got to coach Riley all the way through high school and what an impact he had on him. Just by knowing who Riley is and getting close with him, he’s a direct reflection of his dad. He’s a great kid and you can tell Grant raised him up right.”
Adams coached youth baseball when his son was younger and those teams included among others, Derby graduates Tanner Igo, Ryan Palmer, Dan Dawdy, Tommy Carter and Cooper Welch.
“I’ve got a big family and I’d go stay in hotels and Grant, Riley and I would go to tournaments together,” Igo said. “We’d stay there for the weekend and there was never a problem. We always had fun.”
Even after his son graduated in 2015, Igo said Grant was always in the stands through the 2016 season.
“Even after Riley graduated, he still came to [our] games because we were his second family,” Igo said. “We were his second kids.”
Igo said that he and fellow graduate Garrett Xanders were some of the first to speak with Riley after his father’s passing. Amidst a moment of grief and mourning, Igo and his former coach said those moments are a part of the brotherhood that came from wearing Derby green together.
“Riley had so many people wanting to help out, making sure he was okay and that’s what makes this community so special,” Clark said. “There have been many times where Riley and Grant had to be that support system for other people. Now it’s time for the community to give back to Riley and his family.”
While coaches and athletes prepare for the 2020 season, Clark said Adams’ legacy will continue to make an impact on teams to come.
“He inspired me to be a better person,” Clark said. “Sometimes it’s pretty easy to have someone else volunteer for the dirty work. When you see someone like that volunteer, it makes you want to do more and give back more. He exemplified what community is. Without guys like Grant Adams, Derby football wouldn’t be Derby football.