Drew Adams, '16, Sam Adams, '52, and Katie Adams, '15
Sam Adams is a Whitworth legend. As a student, he competed in football, basketball, track & field and baseball (he would sometimes leave baseball games early to participate in track meets). In football, in his freshman year he led the nation's small colleges in touchdown receptions. In four seasons he caught 120 passes for 2,191 yards and 25 touchdowns, all NAIA records at that time.
In addition to setting records and studying, Sam and his roommate planted the first Young Life club in Spokane. Other Whitworth students who joined the effort included Sam's future wife, Colleen (Pickert) Adams, '51.
Sam Adams in 1952
After graduating and playing three seasons with the Canadian Football League's BC Lions, Adams returned to Whitworth in 1956 as an assistant football coach; the next year he was named head track and cross-country coach. Adams became the Pirates' head football coach in 1958.
In seven seasons, he led his football teams to a combined record of 47-17-1 and three conference championships. His 1960 team, ranked fourth in the national NAIA polls, competed in the semifinals of the NAIA national playoffs. His track teams won four conference titles.
Adams earned a master's in teaching and coached at Whitworth until 1965; he went on to coach football and teach physical education at Washington State University, where he earned a doctorate in educational administration. Each year Whitworth honors his legacy through the Sam Adams Classic track meet, and through the Sam Adams Young Life Scholarship for student leaders. Adams was inducted into Whitworth's inaugural Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame class in 1990.
The Adams' family legacy at Whitworth extends into the 21st century. Sam and Colleen are the parents of Debbie, Sam, Jim, and Whitworth alum Steve, '81, who played on the football and baseball teams. Two of their grandchildren, who are cousins, currently attend Whitworth. Katie Adams, '15, is a nursing major and a defensive specialist on the volleyball team. Drew Adams, '16, a health sciences major, plays guard on the men's basketball team and competes in men's tennis, as well.