RETURNING HIS INVESTMENT: SEHS grad returns home to coach footballPublished 10:27am Monday, August 11, 2014
“I wish I would’ve know in high school, what I know now. I want to pass that on to the kids.”
A decade ago, Adam Durham drifted through college like any other 18-year-old collegiate athlete. After blocking for backs Friday nights for Stanhope Elmore, the offensive lineman knew he, at least, wanted to see his professional dream through.
He played a year of junior college football in Texas, then transferred back to his home state and finished out his collegiate career at Jacksonville State University. While the NFL wasn’t in the cards, the now 30-year-old Durham did climb to the highest level within the game.
“Everybody wants to play at the highest level possible, the NFL. It’s tough,” he said. “I never got the shot to play in the NFL, I wish I would have, but I’ve played in a few different leagues.
“I played in the (Southern Indoor Football League), and I played in Arena (Football League), the highest arena league there is. That was 2012-13. Just to make it there was awesome. It’s just been my dream to compete at the highest level possible. Why would you settle for being mediocre? I want to be the best.”
Still playing professionally with the Columbus (Georgia) Lions in the Professional Indoor Football League, Durham and his family moved back home to Millbrook last year. Soon after they returned, his wife enrolled their first born at New Life Christian Academy.
“My wife told them ‘my husband coaches.’ I coached four years up in South Carolina at a small school just like this,” Durham said. “I know 8-man football so it’s nothing new, I play arena football, which is 8-man. (New Life) Coach Jason (Owens) called me about a week after my wife told him. I said, ‘yeah.’ I jumped on it. I said I can’t commit right now because I’ve signed a contract to go play with the Columbus Lions.”
Schedule-wise, coaching at New Life doesn’t conflict with the PIFL regular season (February to July). But football won’t last, Durham said, and when it’s over, he’ll need an outlet for the game he’s passionate about.
“I have so much passion for the game that I’m trying to find something that when my career’s done, something I can still do to have that passion, that same fire and drive,” Durham said. “And coaching seems to be it. I love it.”
By the third year at his previous stop at the Carolina Academy in Lake City, the team advanced to one game shy of the state championship game after multiple seasons of not making the playoffs. With Owens matching Durham in passion, Durham said, he feels confident New Life will improved on its 1-7 record last year.
“It’s not about me, it just took getting other coaches with my passion, my intensity for the game to help those kids along. Coach Jason, he has the same passion as I do,” Durham said. “He’s on fire for it and I love it. I want to give these kids a knowledge that I didn’t have in high school. Just pushing them, giving them that fight to win. Don’t accept losing seasons. That was 2013, this is 2014. This is a completely new year, completely new team; same guys, new team, new attitude.”
A decade removed from his prep career at Stanhope Elmore, Durham conquered the path to the AFL, fulfilling his dreams along the way. With new dreams standing before him, the Millbrook native aspires to guide kids to accomplish their goals and dreams.
“As far as coaching the kids, I wish I would’ve know in high school what I know now. I want to pass that on to the kids,” he said. “If I could say to anybody, it’s not easy, it’s not given. Nothing’s given, nothing’s guaranteed. You’ve got to fight for what you want.”