Rodney Adams dropped his oldest daughter off at her first softball practice. It was scheduled to last just more than an hour. Not enough time to run errands or head back home, he figured.
So Adams decided to stay. He had barely settled in to watch that practice when, soon enough, he was on the field and helping run it.
His life hasn't been the same since.
Rodney Adams has community service in his DNA.
The coach asked for a volunteer to assist with drills, and Adams’ DNA is wired such that his answer could only be yes. He quickly was “promoted” to assistant coach, and that experience led to coaching positions for youth sports for every season as his three kids grew up and headed to high school.
“Helping out turns into becoming an unofficial assistant,” Adams said with a laugh. “Then they give you a hat and T-shirt, and all of a sudden you are a coach.”
Then they give you a hat and T-shirt, and all of a sudden you are a coach."
Adams, 60, says all those years of coaching have taken him to most every gymnasium and athletic field in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. With his days as a youth coach behind him (Adams’ youngest child, Alec, will be a junior this fall at Lassiter High School near Marietta) Adams’ volunteer efforts have shifted to building and maintaining websites. He is the webmaster for the Lassiter High School football site, and he has helped get several Lassiter football, lacrosse and basketball youth and high school sites up and running using the Sport Ngin platform.
“(Lassiter) Junior football approached me first to manage their website,” said Adams, who spent 20 years working for IBM in a variety of roles and now runs R.H. Adams & Associates, his business management consulting firm. “I had always been disappointed in the websites of the various sports teams I was a part of. I could never find the current information that you needed. I always thought they did a poor job.
“I had the perspective and vantage point of having looked at thousands of business websites over the years.”
Name: Rodney Adams | Age: 60 | Resides in: Marietta, GA
Family: Wife, Lena; daughters Aubrey, 20 and Alyssa, 23; son, Alec, 17
Job: Owner of R.H. Adams & Associates, a business management consulting firm
Interests: Youth sports, website management, writing, golf.
Rodney Adams grew up playing sports in Columbus, Ohio, graduated from Ohio State University, worked 20 years at IBM and settled in Marietta, Ga., a north-Atlanta suburb. Adams encouraged his three children to participate in sports, and for years he has served as a youth coach for his kids' teams. More recently, he has transitioned into a webmaster for various local youth and high school sports sites, most notably for the Lassiter High School football team.
Adams grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he spent his days – all day, every day – outside playing whatever sport happened to be in season.
“Back then we didn’t have a lot of video games or watched a lot of TV, so we were kind of kicked of out of the house,” Adams said. “We played baseball and football and anything else we could. Some of it was organized, some of it was not.
“We maybe came home in time for dinner.”
Adams played some recreational basketball in middle school, and that was pretty much the end of his athletic career.
“My claim to fame in high school was a district debate championship,” Adams said. “I was also the announcer of the marching band during football season. I was by no means a jock in high school.”
Still, Adams is a staunch believer in organized sports. He talks about both the physical and social benefits. When he drives around his neighborhood he sees empty basketball courts and baseball fields and wonders, “Where are all the kids?” He isn’t blind to all the entertainment options available to kids today compared to when he was growing up.
“I don’t see kids playing ball like we played ball when I grew up,” he said. “If it weren’t for organized sports in this community, not a lot of the kids would be outside.”
If it weren’t for organized sports in this community, not a lot of the kids would be outside."
Community service is another deep-rooted passion. Adams’ father, William H. Adams, was a legendary figure in the East Columbus neighborhood of Krumm Park. William Adams, known to his friends as “Buster,” served on dozens of government and civic groups. According to the William H. Adams Youth Foundation site – built, of course, by Rodney – the elder Adams focused on building community pride through neighborhood development, education awareness and crime reduction.
William H. Adams died in 2012 at age 83, and in 2013 Columbus renamed the William H. Adams Community Center at Krumm Park in his honor.
“I realized early on that kids need sports and they need activities that elevate their social skills and self esteem.”
That quote is from William H. Adams, but son Rodney speaks the same language: “Sports, organized sports, will teach children about life, conflict management, time management, nutrition, dealing with people. They will learn a lot more about those things than they will about throwing a ball, catching a ball or shooting a ball.”
Adams’ work on the Lassiter football site goes beyond posting schedules and organizing registration. He has built the site into a news portal for the community, publishing articles, providing links to news items such as the story about former Lassiter and Auburn University standout Philip Lutzenkirchen, who died in a car accident in June.
“A year or two ago, the (Lassiter) principal stopped me in the hallway and said I look at the high school football website to find out what is going on in the school,” Adams said. “It has become kind of a home for the community.”
Lassiter football coach Jep Irwin said, because of Adams’ work, the football program’s website has served as a template for multiple sports at the school.
“Rodney is a rare combination of entrepreneur, someone who has the technical skills to talk the lingo, but also understands the importance of public relations and an organization’s visibility.”