BY DAVID RUSSELL
The Nolan Adams era at York College has started. The head coach led BMCC to the CUNY title in 2015 and is now looking to win at the four-year level. “Everything is good,” Adams said. “It’s a big transition but it’s exciting.”
Adams was hired to coach the Cardinals on Oct. 17, so close to the start of the season that he was already preparing with the BMCC Panthers. “I’m grateful they chose me,” Adams said.
Adams played at St. Joseph’s College and later became an assistant coach, where he was part of a staff that won three conference titles. After serving as associate head coach at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Adams became the head coach at Polytechnic Institute of New York University before NYU absorbed the school.
Of the three seasons at BMCC, Adams’ best Panther team was the 2015 squad that won the CUNY title and was one win away from going to nationals. Adams was named coach of the year in CUNY and Region XV. As much as he enjoyed coaching at the community-college level–and 51 wins in three seasons helped–there’s an advantage to being at the senior-college level: “Being able to develop guys over four years,” Adams said. “At the two-year I had such a great time, but it’s such a small time to develop guys. Now I have four years and get to see the growth and end product and be part of the whole thing.”
It’s a balanced team with six upperclassmen and six underclassmen. One player to watch is sophomore forward Ryan Smart, a terrific defender whom Adams calls a “game changer.”
York last won the CUNY title in 2014, the fourth championship in school history. “We want to build a program that’s top of CUNY every year and not just every few years,” Adams said.
Although Adams is inheriting this roster rather than constructing it, there has been no problem at all between players and coach. “They bought in from day one,” Adams said. “They’ve been really excited.”
With excitable college players, the coach is trying to instill in them that they can’t win it all in the first month of the season. “I’m trying to teach them patience because it’s not going to happen right away,” Adams said.
Still, Adams has one goal for this season: “CUNY championship. That’s the goal every year. There’s no other goal.”