For Joshua Adams, the transition to becoming the new athletic director at Gilroy High has been years in the making.
The 45-year-old has a total of 20 years of high school coaching experience—15 as a head coach—and spent the previous six years as the assistant athletic director at Clovis East High. So, when the opportunity for the GHS position opened up in May, Adams jumped on it.
“I’ve always been interested in getting to the AD position and administration level,” Adams said. “Gilroy is definitely an attractive place to be and I’ve really enjoyed my time in the short time I’ve been out here. The people are great and they’re hungry for success. The coaches here have a lot of experience and we’re committed to the kids and programs, and a lot of grassroots programs. I’m excited in a lot of ways for the opportunity here, and I think my skill set and experience at different schools and districts will help our athletic department and ultimately provide the best support to coaches and student-athletes.”
Adams takes over for Tim Pierleoni, who recently moved to Hollister and took a teaching position at Hollister High, where he’ll also be a position coach for the Haybalers football team. Prior to Adams’ time at Clovis East—where he also served as the wrestling coach—Adams spent three years at Clovis North High.
Before that, he worked at Los Banos High. Adams was born and raised in Turlock and his family has a tremendous legacy there. Joshua is related to Hank Adams, who was the first Assyrian born in Turlock. Hank’s father, the Rev. Isaac Adams, founded an Assyrian farming community there in 1911, according to a KQED article published in February 2017.
The same story reported there were 20,000 Assyrians in Turlock at the time, roughly a quarter of the city’s population. Assyrians are a stateless nation and have long been persecuted, resulting in a huge diaspora.
“Family has been there since 1911,” Adams said. “There’s a community of Assyrians that my family was a part of that immigrated from what was then Persia and we were the first Assyrians in Turlock. Family was involved in a lot of agriculture, they were produce brokers, growing grapes and other crops as well. So, it’s kind of a natural fit being in the southern part of Santa Clara Valley and even going down south to the Salinas Valley. It’s a second home in a lot of ways seeing that.”
Adams has a lot of experience running high level tournaments which automatically makes him a valuable asset to each of the GHS sports teams, especially the ones that host or travel regularly to tournaments like the GHS wrestling program.
“I’m all in when hosting and coordinating and being on top of the communication with the school from beginning to end,” he said.
Adams happens to be good friends with GHS wrestling coach Daniel Cormier, who put Adams in contact with Principal Greg Kapaku once Adams inquired about the position.
“I came down to campus had some great discussions with Mr. Kapaku, and what I envisioned Gilroy High and the community to be is what I saw,” Adams said.
Adams noted the parallels between Turlock and Gilroy are similar, which makes this a pretty neat, full circle moment.
“Gilroy is similar in so many ways to Turlock,” he said. “Once was a farming community, a one school town. A second school opens up so some of those dynamics are spot on. Even the school colors, blue and gold, are [those of] Turlock High.”
Adams’ wife, Yvette, took a job as director of student services with the South Monterey County High School District in the District Office. They have a daughter, Emily, who is an incoming junior at Cal Poly and a son, Albert, who is an incoming senior at Clovis East.
Of course, Joshua wanted his son to follow him to Gilroy but totally understood Albert’s wishes to finish his senior year at Clovis East. Albert is a 4.6 GPA student and qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Championships last year at 170 pounds, so he would’ve been a great addition to the GHS wrestling program.
“It would’ve been very cool to have him here at Gilroy, but ultimately it’s really hard to transfer for your senior year,” Joshua said.
An effective AD combines organizational and communication skills to a variety of parties with the goal to help the athletes, coaches and teams thrive. That’s exactly what Adams plans on doing.
“Besides bringing on some organization and a ton of support to coaches and student-athletes, I think improving our brand, unifying programs and creating systems that are streamlined for coaches, athletes and parents [are some of my goals]. Making Gilroy the best place it can be for student-athletes.”