RONDA — On Friday morning, Mount Airy High School named former East Wilkes football coach, Jasson “J.K.” Adkins, as the head coach of the Granite Bears’ varsity football team. Adkins has 16 years of teaching experience and 19 years of coaching experience.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to be chosen to help lead Mount Airy football into its next chapter,” said Adkins. “This school and school system is widely known for high achievement, both athletically and academically. I look forward to continuing the tradition of success that coaches like Kelly Holder and Jerry Hollingsworth have established, as well as growing this program in the near and distant future.”
For the past five years, he has been the head football coach at East Wilkes High School and the strength and conditioning teacher. As head football coach, his leadership transformed the Cardinals into one of the better 1A programs in North Carolina. Adkins’ success led him to be named the 2017-2018 NCHSAA East-West All Star Coach. He serves on the NC Football Coaches Board of Directors.
“My time at East Wilkes were some of the best years, both professionally and personally. The people of our community adopted my family as one of their own,” said Adkins. “We have been supported from the top down. Dr. Jodi Weatherman, Athletic Director Justin Call, and Mr. Mark Byrd have always been in our corner from day one. Community people like Jim Byrd, Rudy Holbrook, Bud Church, Chris Cheek and countless others are what makes jobs like this special. The parents and players have been all in, and that is rare these days. We also assembled an awesome coaching staff that is largely responsible for our success. Our success is the by product of a perfect storm situation.”
Adkins was hired at East Wilkes three days before Christmas in 2011. At the time of his hire, the Cardinals had enjoyed just one winning season in the previous seven, and things didn’t get better right away. East Wilkes went 2-8 in 2013, 1-10 in 2014 and 3-9 in 2014, but then made one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in NCHSAA history.
“My goal has always to build a respectable football program that our community could be proud of. I like to think that we accomplished that goal,” said Adkins. “My greatest accomplishment is helping these boys develop into fine young men.”
In 2015, the Cardinals won their first 13 games of the season, took the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference title by two games, and reached the third round of the 1AA state playoffs before losing by three points to eventual West Regional champion Mitchell. The turnaround earned him MVAC Coach of the Year and North Carolina 1A Coach of the Year honors.
The Cardinals proved that their 2015 success was no fluke by continuing to win in 2016 and 2017. In ‘16, East Wilkes finished second in the MVAC with an 8-4 record, and last fall were one of the highest-ranked 1A teams in the state until a rash of injuries derailed the Cardinals’ season in the last few weeks. East Wilkes still posted a 9-3 record.
Adkins also served as the interim head coach of the East Wilkes boys’ basketball team for 18 games during the 2017-18 season.
“Coach Adkins has been tremendous for everyone involved with East Wilkes football and beyond. He came in with a vision six years ago and he made that a vision a reality with our football program,” said East Wilkes Atheltic Director Justin Call. “He connected with our student-athletes and they believed in the hard work, blue collar approach that he modeled everyday. His impact went well beyond football as he helped in any area that we needed him and he was a tremendous teacher in his physical conditioning classes. Although, we hate to see him go, his impact will continue with what he has taught our student-athletes during his time here and we wish him only the best.”
Adkins is a 2001 graduate of Appalachian State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in history, secondary education. In 1998, while attending ASU, he began his coaching career at Watauga High School. After graduation, he started his teaching career at Mooresville High School, where he taught in the history department. In 2005, Adkins was selected as the Time Warner Cable Regional Teacher of the Year.
Adkins has been a member of six coaching staffs over his career serving in various capacities. Adkins was named as the first head coach of Patton High School in Mooresville when that school opened in 2007. The Panthers first played a varsity schedule a year later, and he led the school’s first two varsity teams, going 3-8 and 4-7 before moving on. He served as an assistant coach at Salisbury in 2010-11, when the Hornets won the 2AA state title and followed that up with a trip to the third round a year later.
Mount Airy High School Principal Sandy George said, “We are thrilled to have Coach Jasson Adkins joining our school family. He is highly thought of and respected throughout the athletic community. We are excited that he is now a Mount Airy Granite Bear.”
His first head coaching assignment was at South Iredell High School in Statesville in 2005 and 2006. Like his other assignments, Adkins took command of a struggling program and had to rebuild it. The Vikings went 0-11 in 2004, but won five games and made the playoffs in his first year and went 8-6 with a trip to the third round in 2006.
Mount Airy City Schools Chief Operations Officer Jason Dorsett was involved in the hiring process and said, “The goal of our committee was to hire a candidate with great character, leadership, who excels in the classroom and will continue the tradition of excellence of Granite Bear Football at Mount Airy High School. Countless hours were spent reviewing resumes, meeting with community members, conducting interviews, and checking references to determine the best possible fit to lead our football program. On behalf of the interview committee, we are very pleased that Coach Adkins will be joining Mount Airy City Schools.”
MAHS invites players, their families, coaches, and the community to come out to Wallace Shelton Stadium on Sunday to meet Adkins. The meet and greet event will start at 3 p.m. Adkins’ first season as the Granite Bears’ head football coach will be the 2018 season.
“I have developed many meaningful relationships that reach beyond being a coach,” said Adkins. “These relationships will extend many years beyond my days as a coach here. I love East Wilkes and its people and wish nothing but the best for them.”