With a background in high-scoring, diverse offenses, Junior Adams has been named WKU’s offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, head coach Mike Sanford announced on Wednesday.
“Adding Junior Adams to our offensive staff room is an absolute coup for us,” Sanford said. “His background in innovate offenses and coaching wide receivers is without equal, and I couldn’t be more excited to have Junior as our offensive coordinator.”
“I am elated to join Coach Sanford’s staff at WKU, a program with a history of explosive, high-scoring offenses,” Adams added. “This is a tremendous opportunity as the next step in my coaching career, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Adams, who comes to The Hill after three seasons at Sanford’s alma mater, Boise State, served as the Broncos’ passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2016 and has coached wide receivers on the blue turf since 2014. Under his direction, Boise State’s wide receivers flourished and set records on a seemingly annual basis.
This past season, Boise State posted the first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in school history in Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson. Boise State joined the Hilltoppers in 2016 as one of only four schools in the nation with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers. Sperbeck finished his career at BSU as a two-time first-team All-Mountain West Conference honoree and the school’s career leader in receiving yardage with 3,601 while his 2015 marks of 88 catches for 1,412 yards either set or tied the school’s single-season record. Sperbeck’s 224 career receptions also ranked fourth in program history while his 1,272 yards this past season trailed only his 2015 record in the books. He was also the first Boise State receiver to post two 80-catch seasons.
Boise State’s passing game finished No. 15 nationally in 2016, averaging 298.3 yards per game while ranking No. 9 in passer rating at 161.38 and No. 7 in yards per attempt (9.6). Adams also helped to develop Wilson into one of the nation’s top big play threats as his 20.2 yard per catch average ranked No. 8 nationally.
Adams’ evolution as an offensive mind draws from not only the Boise State tree, but also from his five seasons as wide receivers coach at Eastern Washington under noted offensive mind Beau Baldwin. Regularly mentioned as one of the top passing teams in college football, the Eagles went to the FCS playoffs in four of the five seasons Adams was on staff and won the 2010 FCS National Championship with consecutive appearances in the semifinals each of his final two seasons (2012-13). In each of Adams’ five seasons with the Eagles, the team finished in the top-10 nationally in passing offense four of five times including a No. 1 overall finish in 2011 with a staggering 368.4 passing yards per game.
In 2013, the Eagles ranked fourth-nationally in the FCS in passing offense (349.8) and had two receivers ranked in the top-10 nationally in receiving yardage. Then-freshman Cooper Kupp led the nation in receiving yards with 1,691, the fourth-most in FCS history, while senior Ashton Clark ranked sixth with 1,233 yards. Kupp went on to become just the second freshman wide receiver since 1990 to earn first team FCS All-America honors (Randy Moss, 1996), and was also the recipient of the Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top freshman in the FCS. Kupp’s 14-consecutive games with a receiving touchdown also broke the FCS record.
Kupp went on to enjoy a breakout year in 2015 as he won the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the FCS, and was named the national offensive player of the year by both STATS LLC and FCS ADA. He set FCS career records for receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions.
A former All-American wide receiver himself, Adams developed three other 1,000-yard receivers while at EWU including Brandon Kaufman who, in 2010, broke the FCS receiving yardage record with 1,850 yards. In 2012, as Kaufman was set to graduate, two of his fellow senior receivers had also recorded 1,000-yard seasons in their careers under Adams’ direction including Nicholas Edwards and Greg Herd in 2011.
The 2004 graduate of Montana State with a degree in sociology, Adams has also received multiple grants as a part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship which has given him the opportunity to work at summer training camps with NFL teams including the Oakland Raiders (2010), Indianapolis Colts (2011) and Minnesota Vikings (2012).
A native of Fremont, Calif., Adams got his start in collegiate coaching at Montana State where he coached receivers and kick returners from 2004-06. In 2007, he coached the same positions at Prosser High where he worked with Tom Moore, father of former Boise State and current NFL quarterback Kellen Moore. The Mustangs went 14-0 that season and won the WIAA 2A State Championship. Adams also spent one season at Chattanooga (2008) before returning to the Northwest and beginning his path at EWU.
THE ADAMS FILE
Born: Oct. 20, 1979
Hometown: Fremont, Calif.
College: Montana State, ‘04
PLAYING CAREER (Wide Receiver)
College: Oregon State (1999-00); Montana State (2001-02)
2004-06: Montana State (Wide Receivers/Kick Returners)
2007: Prosser HS (Wash.) (Wide Receivers/Kick Returners)
2008: Chattanooga (Assistant)
2009-13: Eastern Washington (Wide Receivers)
2014-15: Boise State (Wide Receivers)
2016: Boise State (Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers)
2000: Fiesta (Oregon State, Player)
2014: Fiesta (Boise State, Coach)
2015: Poinsettia (Boise State, Coach)
2016: Cactus (Boise State, Coach)
BILL WALSH MINORITY COACHING FELLOWSHIPS
2010: Oakland Raiders
2011: Indianapolis Colts
2012: Minnesota Vikings
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Associate Athletic Director, Communications