BLOOMFIELD >> Tom Adair is once again a varsity head coach in San Juan County.
The longtime Kirtland Central High School teacher and coach left the Broncos after the 2011-12 school year, after being let go as the head football coach. He accepted a position as an assistant football coach at Bloomfield High School and also assisted with basketball on the boys' team, as well as track and field in the spring.
This spring, Dan Larabee stepped down as head coach of the Lady Bobcats' basketball team, and Bloomfield athletic director Steve Scott asked Adair to apply for the position.
"Larabee is a great guy, and I coached with him in football. His son is playing ball in Aztec, so he is going to watch his boy play. He resigned in the spring and Scott asked me about applying, so I did and ended up getting the job," Adair said. "It is a good situation for me in Bloomfield. They have really good kids here, and I enjoy teaching here."
Adair will be the third Lady Bobcat basketball coach in four years. Larabee coached two seasons after replacing Paul Corley.
After leaving Kirtland Central, Adair didn't think he would be a varsity head coach again so soon.
"I was happy just to be an assistant coach and teaching. I wanted to keep coaching football, and that was the biggest reason I left Kirtland. Bloomfield wanted me to assist with three sports, and that is something I had been doing for 27 years and wanted to keep doing," Adair said. "I wasn't planning on being a head coach right away, but the opportunity opened up, and I felt like I could help the girls and the program have success."
Adair was a head football and track and field coach for nine years. He also served as an assistant coach on the Kirtland Central girls' team in the 1990s when the Lady Broncos won three state titles. Adair then went to Cortez, Colo., for a few years before moving back and serving as the Kirtland Central athletic director for a few years. He later returned to the basketball bench as a coach on John Zecca's staff with the Kirtland Central boys.
"I think most people associated Tom as a football coach, but he is just a coach. He loves coaching and loves working with the kids. No matter what he is coaching, he will put everything he has into it," said Zecca. "It is hard to find another coach who cares about kids more than Tom."
Zecca believes Adair will stress the importance of defense on the court.
"He is more defensive-minded than offensive. He understands how to play man and zone defenses and learned a few things in regards to the zone with me here in Kirtland and over at Bloomfield with Manning. That all came from coach Steve Scott, as well," Zecca said.
This will be Adair's first job as a varsity basketball head coach, but he is excited to get in the gym and start working with the girls.
"I feel good about the opportunity, and the girls wanted me to coach them. That was the clinching factor for me taking the job -- the fact they wanted me," Adair said. "It will be fun coaching in the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock. There is nothing quite like it. You never like losing there, but it is worth it when you win. I told the girls already, I want them to know the thrill of walking down the ramp at The Pit in Albuquerque. It is a lot of fun, and I want them to have that experience."
John Livingston covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.