Adams hired as Southmoreland football coach

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Last week, Mark Adams officially was hired as the new coach of the Southmoreland football team. But Adams certainly isn't new to the team.

For the past two seasons, Adams, 48, served as an assistant coach/defensive coordinator under Dominic Pecora. In two seasons, Pecora led the Scotties to a 7-12 record. When Pecora opted to accept the head coaching position at East Allegheny in February, the Scotties turned to a familiar face.

“Anytime you apply for a position, there is anticipation,” Adams said. “I'm humbled.”

As an assistant coach, Adams helped to cultivate a strong work ethic within the Southmoreland program.

“I'm old school,” Adams said, noting that discipline and mental toughness are keystones to his coaching philosophy.

“The last couple of years, whenever we played Mt. Pleasant, I would ask them, ‘Two miles, what's the difference?' ” Adams said, noting the distance between Southmoreland and Mt. Pleasant high schools. Although the schools are in close proximity, their success on the football field is measured in a much greater distance. The Vikings are a perennial playoff team. The Scotties have not qualified for the WPIAL postseason since 1979.

“It's a mental difference once you cross that bridge,” Adams said. “We have to be mentally ready to deal with everything on the field. If we bust our butts, everything will fall into place.”

According to Adams, the team appears ready to embrace him and his style.

“First of all, the kids know what to expect from me, and I know what to expect from them,” Adams said. “Whether I was the head coach or not the last couple of years, my fingerprints are on the program. There is nothing new under the sun. We'll carry on, and I look for a big commitment out of our players.”

Adams met with the players earlier this week for the first time as their head coach.

“Before I took the job, they were already in offseason workouts,” Adams said. “I met with them on Monday, and the kids were excited. They cheered when I walked in the weight room.”

This is not Adams' first job as a head coach. Prior to serving as an assistant with Southmoreland, Adams spent four seasons coaching at his alma mater, Leechburg. At Leechburg Adams compiled a record of 6-30. Prior to his time at Leechburg, Adams spent 14 seasons with the Greensburg Salem football program, including seven as an assistant varsity coach. Adams is a graduate of Slippery Rock University.

While Adams knows the road to success for Southmoreland won't be easy, he is looking forward to the challenge of building the team. One of his first priorities will be to find a replacement for quarterback Dakota Datz, who will graduate this spring.

“I'm looking forward to molding a quarterback,” Adams said.

Adams did note that he has some fine athletes to work with in his first season

“We have a nice, solid line and the cupboard is not bare, and that boosts morale,” Adams said.

Adams has not completed his coaching staff yet, but Curt Beistel (wide receivers), Justin Rechichar (offensive line/offensive coordinator) and J.B. Brown (defensive line) will be returning. Steve Santia (defensive coordinator/linebackers) will be new to the staff this year.

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