By Lee Davis
Sometimes Monterrious “Tee” Adams has to pinch himself to make sure he really is the wrestling coach of the Vestavia Hills Rebels.
“Sometimes it’s a little surreal,” said Adams, when contacted last week, “when I walk through the hall of the school and see all those blue state championship trophies and understand that keeping all this going is my responsibility.”
Adams respects the task at hand, but he isn’t in awe of it. In fact, there probably is nobody more suited for the role of succeeding the legendary Steve Gaydosh, who retired last season after winning an incredible 14 state crowns and 10 runner-up finishes. A Vestavia graduate, Adams was a member of two Rebel championship teams and claimed two individual state titles in 2001 and 2002.
“Vestavia has a great tradition with the foundation that coach Gaydosh created here,” Adams said. “I hope to bring a new wave of excitement to add to what’s already here. It’s good to be home again.”
Adams came to Vestavia after a three-year stint as wrestling coach at Hewitt-Trussville. He previously coached for two seasons at Oxford.
While Adams has his own coaching style, Gaydosh’s influence is still felt throughout the program.
“The main thing I learned from coach Gaydosh is the importance of being patient with the kids,” he said. “If the kid knows that you care about him as a person and not just as a member of the wrestling team, he’s going to respond in a much better way.”
His first Vestavia team is deep but not particularly experienced.
“We’ve got about 50 boys in the program and only nine seniors,” Adams said. “We’ve got some good talent on hand and if we work hard, there’s a chance we can go a long way.”
The Rebels showed some promise last weekend, totaling 513 points to claim first place among an impressive field in the prestigious Mountain Brook Invitational. Vestavia also put together a string of impressive wins in dual meets against Chelsea, Thompson, Tuscaloosa County and Mountain Brook.
One factor that probably ensures wrestling’s continued success at Vestavia is the strength of the community’s club programs. The wrestling program is open to boys as young as kindergarten age and extends all the way to middle school level.
“This is an invaluable tool,” said Adams. “The boys already have wrestling experience and know the fundamentals before they even get to the high school.”
His resume is impressive, but Adams’ best attribute may be his devotion to his alma mater.
“I wake up every morning excited about coming to work here,” he said. “This is a special place, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Times may have changed, but Adams believes the things that motivate young men in 2016 aren’t much different than they were when he was a Rebel wrestler.
“It’s a little different with the changes in technology,” he said. “But when you get a good group that wants to work hard, good things can happen.”
And Tee Martin’s return will be a good thing for Vestavia wrestling.