Adams Appointed Athletic Director

Head Football Coach Cleive Adams was appointed the new Athletic Director Monday.
Head Football Coach Cleive Adams was appointed the new Athletic Director Monday.
Kyle Markowitz

From playing on the field to coaching on the sideline as both an assistant and currently as the head coach for the Panthers, Cleive Adams took another step in his athletic department career after being announced as the next athletic director at Ferrum College.

At a press conference in the Blue Ridge Mountain Room Monday, Interim President Mirta Martin announced Adams as unanimously approved amongst the committee.

“Ferrum is my alma mater, and my loyalty and commitment to Ferrum College is evident. I want those characteristics to be contagious,” Adams said.  “It has to mean something to be a Panther, and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure everyone on this campus understands and believes that.”

Although Adams won’t have a team on the football field, he said he will have a team as the athletic director.

“I’ll have a team of coaches, and I’ll have a team of student athletes,” Adams said.  “I want to have the ability and I pride myself on empowering the people around me.  Not micromanagement. Not dictatorship. Empowerment.”

Adams already has a mission in place–a mission to win in the classroom and on the field.

“My mission, our mission, is to build a program that will consistently be competitive in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). By developing a commitment to academic success because that’s the key more than anything else,” he said. “If you’re a self-starter off the field, you’re going to find a way to win on the field.”

Adams’ said the first step in the process is to make it clear to the student athletes and coaching staffs he has their back.

“I want to rally our student athletes and our coaching staffs to create a family bond right out of the gate,” Adams said.  “Make sure that everyone knows what my objectives are and just create some momentum moving forward into the spring semester.”

Adams gave a 21-minute speech and finished off with news that this season will be his last as head football coach.

“I met with the team before the press conference, and I just asked for their blessing,” Adams said.  “I knew it was going to be hard, not only for me, but also for them.  Right now, our focus is to finish strong the rest of the season.”

Adams’ tenure as athletic director begins after winter break in January, allowing him to finish out his final season with the team.

“As hard as it was today for me to look at my football team and my coaching career, I feel like this was about the right timing for me,” he said.

Following his speech, Adams was embraced by his players congratulating him.

“I feel great about him being the new AD.  I think he will take the athletic department to new heights and also bring lots of success to Ferrum College,” Eli Davis, sophomore, said. “The team has given him our full blessing and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Davis is an offensive lineman who has played under Adams for two seasons and graduated from Franklin County High School.

Adams’ history here began as a football player under coach Hank Norton (1988 and 1989), making appearances in the NCAA Div. III National Semifinals both seasons.

Adams earned a Bachelor of Science from Ferrum in Recreation and Leisure with a minor in Psychology (2002).

He also had two coaching experiences as an assistant coach here (2003-2004 and 2007-2013), and as a head coach at Averett University from 2014-2020. Adams came back to take over as the head football coach for the Black Hats in 2020.

“I’ve been in and around Ferrum College since I was 17 years old, so I know and understand Ferrum,” Adams said.  “We are at a critical place in our college’s great history, and I will help be responsible for leading one of the largest represented populations on this campus in the right direction.”

In 2019, Adams was named into the Ferrum College Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.

“For me, it means world.  Anytime you can come back to your alma mater, whether it be head football coach or director of athletics, it’s an honor,” Adams said. “I understand coaches, student athletes, and at this point of my career, I feel like I could be a great resource for not only the coaching staff but also for the campus community and our student athletes.”


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