Adams says his coaching contract at J.I. Burton won't be renewed

Kevin Mays • Jun 5, 2019 at 6:28 PM

NORTON — Jim Adams has been involved in J.I. Burton football as head coach, assistant coach and player for over 40 years.

The veteran coach said Wednesday that his tenure with the high school football program in Norton may come to an end this year, but not by his own choosing.

“I was informed by the superintendent today that a decision was made by the leadership team, which is the superintendent and the school administration at (Burton and Norton Primary/Middle School) that they are recommending that my football coaching contract would not be renewed,” a subdued Adams said. “She said they wanted to go in a different direction, whatever that means.”

Norton Schools Superintendent Dr. Gina Wohlford was not in her office late Wednesday afternoon and did not respond to a request for comment sent to her via social media.

J.I. Burton Principal Dr. Mike Goforth and Burton assistant principal and athletic director Elijah Helton each said they could not discuss personnel issues.

Goforth did say he was not aware of any action regarding coaching contracts on the agenda for Monday’s Norton City School Board meeting, with the exception of the possible hiring of a boys basketball coach. Burton has been without a boys basketball coach since Aaron Williams resigned earlier this year to accept a similar position at Abingdon.

School Board Chairman Cody McElroy said Wednesday he was not aware of the proposal not to rehire Adams as football coach.

“I haven’t seen that, and even if I had, I can’t comment on personnel,” McElroy said.

School board member Sherry Adams said Wednesday she had not heard of the recommendation until Wednesday, when she was informed of it by coach Adams.

Jim Adams played football at Burton as a student and started coaching at the school 39 years ago.

He is one of the longest-tenured active head football coaches in Southwest Virginia, directing the program for the past 21 years.

During his run as head coach, Burton has made five trips to the VHSL state championship game. The Raiders have won six district and six regional titles under Adams.

This past season, Burton won its latest title, the Cumberland District championship and finished the season with a 9-3 mark.

Adams also served as Burton baseball coach for eight seasons before resigning last year.

The 59-year-old Adams has been plagued with health problems over the past couple of years that have affected his mobility.