Jim ‘Ace’ Adams

Jim 'Ace' Adams

Ace Adams attended St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Maryland, where he was a four-year letter winner on the varsity lacrosse team. He then went on to college at Johns Hopkins University, where he played lacrosse as a midfielder, football as an end and quarterback, and basketball as a forward.

Adams played on the Blue Jays' national championship teams in 1947, 1948, and 1950. The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association named him an honorable mention All-American midfielder in 1948. The following season, the USILA named him to the USILA first team, and in 1950, to the third team.  Adams participated in the 1949 and 1950 North/South Collegiate All-Star Games.

Adams began his coaching career at the St. Paul's School, where he served as the head lacrosse and football coach from 1951 to 1953. He also taught five classes each day, and from 1952, also served as the school's athletic director. After his stint at St. Paul's, Adams began working as an insurance salesman. He also continued playing lacrosse with the Mount Washington Lacrosse Club in Baltimore from 1951 to 1956. In 1957, he served as the club's head coach.

In 1958, he became the head coach of the Army lacrosse team at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, after its previous head coach, F. Morris Touchstone, died of a heart attack.

Adams coached the lacrosse team from 1958 to 1969 and also worked as an assistant athletic director. In his first season, he led the Cadets to a perfect record and Army was selected as the 1958 national champions. Against Duke, Adams played 33 different players in a failed attempt to hold down the score. Army won, 21–2. I

n 1961, in the first nationally televised lacrosse game, Army upset Navy, 10–8, to capture a share of the national championship alongside the Midshipmen. That season, Adams was awarded the F. Morris Touchstone Award as the USILA Coach of the Year. In 1969, the Cadets again defeated Navy to clinch a share of the national co-championship in Adams' final game at Army. The result was a 14–4 rout at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in front of 16,056 spectators.

After his daughter graduated from high school in 1969, Adams wanted to work close to where she attended college. They considered the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, eventually choosing Penn because it offered a free tuition and $14,000 salary for its lacrosse coach.

Adams was the head coach at Penn from 1970 to 1978, which was a significant change from Army. Adams guided the Quakers to several top-10 rankings, including the No. 4 position in his final year.

Adams was then hired as Virginia's head coach. He remained in that position at Virginia from 1978 to 1992. During his tenure there, he led the Cavaliers to 12 NCAA tournament appearances and four semifinals appearances. Twice they finished as runners-up to the national championship. At the time of his retirement from coaching in 1992, he had the most wins of any active Division I lacrosse coach.

Adams was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1975.

Thru all of his coaching years Coach Adams taught his players how to be gentlemen, and to respect the game, your opponent and the officials. This was his true contribution the game.