The resolve of Charles Adams III has been tested greatly in the past year.
It also has been recognized.
Adams, who has been central to a transformation at Minneapolis North as the school's head football coach (and previously its school resource officer), has been named the Positive Coaching Alliance's National Coach of the Year.
The organization made the announcement public Friday, after Adams was chosen by a committee that picked the Coach of the Year out of 25 national recipients of the Double-Goal Coach® award presented by TeamSnap. More than 600 nominations were submitted to honor coaches who "strive to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports."
Adams' selection includes the $10,000 Taube Family Prize, with $2,500 going to Adams and $7,500 tabbed for the Minneapolis North Community High School football program. Adams, the other national Double-Goal Coach® winners and 75 regional winners were recognized Sunday during the PCA's first virtual National Youth Sports Awards and Benefit.
More than 2,000 registered guests attended the event that featured sports celebrities Stephen Curry, Derek Jeter, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
"Coach Adams helps athletes win in and out of sports," Positive Coaching Alliance CEO Chris Moore said. "By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience and serving as a Double-Goal Coach®, he helps youth develop into better athletes and better people."
Adams has helped his high school alma mater with leadership based on love, a willingness to listen and an ability to relate to players and students.
The thing is, Adams says, he believes he gets more out of the experience than he gives.
"It's not coaching. I'll be the first one to tell you that I don't know as much as anybody else does when it comes to coaching. It's about the relationships and the mentorship and seeing the best out of every kid," Adams said in a video produced by PCA. "What we don't talk about a lot as adults is how important those relationships are for us as well. So I tell the kids, 'I need you just as much as you need me. You make me healthy, as well, and you motivate me,' so that's why I do it, because it goes both ways."
Adams, often referred to on the school grounds as "OA" for Officer Adams, was named the Vikings Coach of the Year in 2016, a season that culminated with the Polars going undefeated and winning the Class A Championship at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The PCA video included players and parents describing the ways that Adams' approach has positively impacted them.
"He's another father figure. He shows that he cares," Rio Sanders said. "He doesn't just coach you as a football player. It's as a person, too."
Chester Watley added: "He's been a big impact on my life, getting me to college, helping me to where I need to go. I think he's impacted everybody in the school, especially on the football team."
Jaheim Abdullah said: "OA has had a big impact on my life. You can always go to him with anything. He's always there for you. There's nothing I feel like I can't talk about with him, and that's important for student-athletes to have."
Parent Stephanie Gasca described how Adams' tight ties to the community have been so beneficial at the school.
"He's someone who was born and raised, grew up on the north side, graduated from North High School and decided to come back and be the community officer within the school," Gasca said. "Not just as an officer and someone here in a position of authority, but as having a loving, caring spirit and caring about the student as a whole and not just what they're doing on the field."
The tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody of Minneapolis Police Department officers on May 25, 2020, left Minnesota reeling and sent reverberations around the world.
Students, players, parents and Adams processed the pain as best they could after seeing viral video of former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as the 46-year-old cried for help before breathing his last breath.
During the unrest that followed, Adams continued to suit up and serve the Minneapolis Police Department, going to hazardous scenes in effort to protect the peace.
"It's the worst thing I've had to endure," Adams said in the PCA video. "I was caught in the middle … 'How could you work for them? You should be ashamed of yourself.' Black and blue. I'm Black, but I wear blue. 'What side are you on now?' "
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Jurors convicted Chauvin on all three charges Tuesday, and he is awaiting sentencing.
Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting. Their trial is scheduled for August.
After 20 years of service that followed the career path of his father, Adams retired from the force last fall. He joined the Minnesota Twins as director of team security in October and remains head coach at Minneapolis North.
About Positive Coaching Alliance
As a catalyst for a positive youth sports culture, Positive Coaching Alliance provides research-based training and resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders to ensure a positive youth development experience for ALL kids, in all communities across the U.S., through sports. … PCA has now partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver more than 20,000 live group workshops, reaching over 20 million youth.