EAST CHICAGO | George Karl was named the NBA's Coach of the Year after a successful season with the Denver Nuggets. He won a franchise record 57 games. Then, he was fired.
Stacy Adams, the reigning Times football Coach of the Year, will find out tonight if he will remain as E.C. Central's football coach, after leading the Cardinals to a school record 9-2 record last fall.
"It's 50-50," Adams said Monday afternoon. "That's what I've been told."
Tonight's East Chicago Community Schools school board meeting could have a lot of pink slips handed out. Adams said the E.C. athletic director Bill Kelly could also be in trouble.
"We'll find out what we'll find out," Adams said. "Been told that the new school board is looking to dump administrators. I've always been told that if you do the right thing good things will happen.
"Now, I'm not so sure."
An attempt to reach school board President Jesse Gomez was unsuccessful.
Thick drama surrounded the Cardinals on Monday afternoon as they prepared to follow their coach to Valparaiso for a 7-on-7 workout. Such summer events were not happening five years ago when Adams was leaving Valparaiso University, where he had been the head coach from 2005 through 2009.
The Lew Wallace graduate was the Crusaders first African-American head football coach.
When Adams arrived at E.C. there were 14 players on the roster. He's handed out 65 helmets this spring, but he said several players have stopped coming to workouts because of the political uncertainty in the air.
Most all of the Cardinals plan on being at tonight's school board meeting. Several said they will leave if Adams is let go.
"When I first heard it I thought it was a lie," senior Carlos Fernandez said. "It's heart-breaking. He's not just a great coach, but a great administrator, too. He helped us out with everything, academics, everything.
"I hope it isn't true."
"He's like a father to me," senior Anthony Hunt said. "If he leaves, and all the coaches go with him, this program will go way down. He's brought new equipment in here. He has (college) coaches coming in here to look at our film.
"With him we have a chance."
In 2010 E.C. went 5-5 in Adams' first year. In 2011 the Cards went 7-4 and followed it up with two additional wins last fall.
Adams' college connections have also helped opening doors for the young men in East Chicago. Senior Martavious Carter just received an offer from Northern Illinois, while Purdue and Illinois are also hot on his heels.
Classmate Tre'Quan Burnett has Eastern Michigan recruiting him heavy, too.
They all credit Adams for pushing these difficult doors wide open.
"When I heard what the school board might do it was like they were taking my career away," Carter said. "I thank God every day that he put coach Adams into my life. This program was not very good before. But he's made us one big family.
"And that is why we're having all this success now."