Mark Adams had a 17-year career as a college basketball coach, including a five-year stint at the Division-I level with Central Connecticut State. And while he had some success along the way, he mostly inherited rebuilding jobs that took their toll, and he figured there had to be a better way to make a living.
“I hated losing — HATED it,” he said. “Psychologically, losing was not good for Mark Adams. I’m a lot more balanced and a lot happier than I ever was coaching, which explains why I was fired and why I’m doing what I’m doing now.”
The Springboro resident has become a respected college-hoops analyst, getting his start as host of the Dayton Flyer radio show called Flyer Feedback and, after 10 years of that, becoming an ESPN broadcaster.
He’s in his 20th year with the network and is known as the “Voice of the Mid-Majors,” spending several seasons with the Missouri Valley Conference before moving up to his current gig with the American Athletic Conference.
“It was a good move. I needed something different,” said Adams, who is surprised at his longevity. “My first 20 minutes on Flyer Feedback didn’t indicate I’d last 20 years, let’s put it that way.”
Adams will be the featured speaker at the fourth-annual Wright State Raider Tip-Off Premier at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Nutter Center. The event includes a VIP reception, dinner and interaction with the men’s and women’s teams.
General admission tickets cost $60 and VIP tickets $100 and can be purchased at WSURaiders.com or by calling (937) 775-3511.
Adams has been impressed with the job third-year coach Scott Nagy is doing, though he isn’t surprised.
“When (athletic director) Bob Grant announced they were hiring coach Nagy, it really got my attention,” he said. “I’ve done this enough where, when I watch a guy coach, I can pretty much tell who gets it and who doesn’t. And this guy really gets it.
“Offensively with what they run and defensively with how disciplined they are, I admire him. I think he’s not just a good coach, but a great coach.”
He added: “One of the reasons I’m so proud and honored to be part of this event is that this is the greatest era in Division I basketball for Wright State men and women ever. I get to help fans celebrate that, and I’m excited about it.”
In addition to being a motivational speaker and author, Adams’ full-time job is heading up EnthusiAdams Inc., which helps mid-majors develop strategies to make the NCAA tourney. It’s no secret that major conferences have almost a monopoly on at-large bids and are trying to keep it that way by rarely scheduling true road games with teams below their stature.
“The Power 5 and Big East last year played 88.4 percent of their out-of-conference games either at home or neutral sites,” Adams said. “The way they do that is they buy home games. … It’s the only sport I know in the world where you can literally influence the metrics for NCAA tournament selection by buying home games. And it’s allowed.
“I’ve studied this for years and decided instead of just complaining about it, I wanted to be part of the solution for mid-major programs that don’t have the budgetary advantage. Could they develop a schedule that helps them improve their NCAA chances? That’s what I’ve been working on.”
He’s done extensive consulting with Conference USA and the Sun Belt.
“I’ve gotten with 26 university presidents to talk to them about this,” he said. “I’ve become pretty much the expert in this field, and it’s fascinating work. I love it, and I feel like it’s making a difference.”
The women’s team (3-5-1) took a three-match winning streak into a meeting at home Wednesday night with Northern Kentucky.
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