Ed Adams (Memorial Scholarship)

Ed Adams (Memorial Scholarship)

As Salinas Junior College/Hartnell’s second track coach, G. Ed Adams kept a winning tradition alive, following three consecutive conference championships under Lloyd (Bud) Winter, later the legendary coach for San Jose State. The only interruption until his retirement in 1969 was three years as a captain in the Army in World War II. Many of his track and field men are still in the top 20 for Hartnell history. One, Dan Likens (1959) still holds the Hartnell record for the old style javelin at 220’ 5.” Another, Ivan Hartsell (1959) holds the old straight pole vault record at 13’9”. A third, Dick Casper (1955) is fifth in the 220 yard dash at 22.2 and 20th in 400 meters at 49.54 and later helped coach track & field at Hartnell. In one 20-year stretch, Adams’ track teams won every dual meet.

His athletic story began with his graduation in June of 1933 at Oregon State College (now University). Participating in five sports, he was all conference in both football and basketball. In football, he played center and also left end. After earning a master’s degree at USC (earned during summer breaks after World War II), he coached high school for three years and then came to SJC/Hartnell. As athletic director (AD) from 1937 through 1969, he produced winning teams in boxing, football, basketball, and track and field. The college grew after World War II, so he gradually relinquished football and then basketball, hiring many outstanding male and female coaches, including Bob Kelley, his successor as AD. Kelley said he picked Adams’ brain. Another hire, Dorothy Middaugh praised him for helping both men and women athletes. “I remember him out there on the track in the cold working with kids who needed extra help. He did a lot without extra pay. He was a true gentleman, I mean a gentle man.”

A leader in pulling together Northern California colleges when the Coast Conference was just forming in the 1950’s, Adams remained as Coast Conference Commissioner until 1988. He also officiated at many collegiate and international track meets. His family and his coaches, though, remember him as someone who listened well to his students and colleagues, helping the students whenever he could—finding a community member to hire them if they needed a job.

Adams had three daughters. Not only did his wife Katy support him, so did daughters Claudia (Kambish), Idaho; Sydney (Uhry), Connecticut; and Julianne (Frizzell), Palo Alto. When Adams died in 1989, Julianne said, “He was able to have what most people want—a career he loved and a loving family around him.” Today, the memory of him lives on in the Ed Adams Invitational Track Meet and in the Ed Adams Scholarship, awarded annually to an athlete who maintains at least a 2.5 grade point average.


The Ed Adams Memorial Scholarship was established in 2007 to support the success of Hartnell College student athletes.