Walking down the same path: Former Longhorn legend Mike Adams is now coaching after an impressive Hall of Honor career

Aakriti Singla , Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the October 11 flipbook. 

As a middle schooler in Arlington in the 1980s, Mike Adams stayed up late on the porch during the summer surrounded by friends and the yellow, moonlit sky talking about one thing only: football.

“I grew up in a troubled area, and football allowed me to keep the focus and drive that I had,” Adams said. 

Friendly competition with the older kids on the football field early Saturday morning turned into late night high school football practices. Several years later, Adams walked onto the green turf of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium as a starting wide receiver his freshman year.

“It was definitely one of the best times of my life, having a chance to play early as a freshman,” Adams said. 

Adams is set to be inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor this Friday after an impressive career as a wide receiver for the Longhorns.

Also an electric kick and punt returner, he broke record after record with the Longhorns and is the all-time leader in receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions. As a junior and senior, Adams helped lead his team to the Southwest Conference Championship game in 1995 and the Big 12 Championship in 1996.

Adams is also the only player in school history with more than 1,000 career punt return yards (1,060) and more than 1,000 career kickoff return yards (1,591).

He would go on to be drafted in the seventh round by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers where he played one season before suffering a knee injury.

That didn’t stop Adams, though, who continued on to the Canadian Football League to play for the BC Lions in 2000. But Adams said he didn’t get the same genuine camaraderie in the pros as he did in college.

“When you get to the next level, NFL, CFL … everything is centered around money,” Adams said. “The relationships aren’t as genuine because you don’t know if you’re going to be here next year or if the other guy is going to be there. It was a cutthroat business.”

Adams recognized that with his injury and surgeries, his chances of returning to the NFL were slim. 

“I knew why my career ended, as opposed to some guys who just get cut because they’re not good enough,” Adams said.

But Adams’ passion for football didn’t end there.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Texas in applied learning and development in 2009 and a master’s degree in 2011 from Concordia University, the former football star turned to the sidelines, where he worked at several Austin-area high schools as an administrator and coach.

The 47 year old is now an assistant principal at Canyon High School in New Braunfels, a passing game coordinator for the school’s football program and a father.

“I have two boys myself … who have aspirations to play in college football,” Adams said. “That’s really one of the main reasons I continue to coach because I was going to get out and go straight full-time administration, but they wanted me to stay in and I feel like I owe it to them — being that they’re getting to walk down that path, and I walked down that path.”