Minneapolis North Football Coach Charles Adams, one of the state’s best, recently won the “Jerry Kill Power of Influence Award” given by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association to honor his impact on his players, school, and community.
Adams led the Polars to a 12-1 record and a 2019 Class 2A state runner-up finish in the state playoffs.
In the past decade, Adams, a lifelong member of the North Minneapolis community who also works as a Minneapolis police officer assigned to North, has seen his program grow from one emphasizing competitiveness to one of sustained excellence.
His first season was in 2010 when North finished 3-6 followed by a 0-8 campaign in 2011. When the school—then on the verge of shutting down—was given new life and a new administration that year, Adams was told that he had to reapply to be coach. He declined.
The coach who was hired didn’t last long, and Adams was back early in the 2012 season. He inherited a team led by a freshman quarterback named Tyler Johnson.
Johnson, in case some have forgotten, went on to become one of the state’s top players before a record-setting career as a receiver at the University of Minnesota. This recently culminated in his selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After two more seasons of average play in 2012 and 2013, North hit its stride, starting a string of seven consecutive state playoff appearances. That string included a state championship and two runner-up finishes in which the Polars have posted an overall record of 77-8.
Here is a look at North’s accomplishments the past seven seasons: 2014 Class 1A semifinals; 2015 Class 1A state runner-up; 2016 Class 1A state champions; 2017 Class 2A quarterfinals; 2018 Class 2A semifinals; and 2019 Class 2A state runner-up.
For Adams, it has always been about making a difference in young people’s lives. That he certainly has done and will continue to do.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.