(Citynet Statewide Sunday Sportsline Interview with Adam King)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Adam King’s football career has included individual honors and state championships at the high school level and Big East title at the college level. After wrapping up his playing career at WVU in 2003, King transitioned into the coaching ranks and is now entering his eleventh season on the staff at Bridgeport High School.
“I have wanted to coach since I was a kid,” King said. “I just didn’t know what type of coaching I wanted to get into. I had a thought of going the college route and then I thought about strength and conditioning. And then I ended up using my education degree and ended up coaching high school football.”
King was a starter on a pair of playoff teams at Ripley High School in 1996 and 1997 and graduated a year later as the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher. King also was a two-time all-state wrestler and he says the similarities between the two sports are numerous.
“A lot of people talk about balance, but I think the most important part would be the mental aspects. The grind of wrestling practices are every bit as grueling as a Mike Barwis summer workout in my opinion. I was kind of versed in that.”
King redshirted in the 1999 season at WVU and was a fullback and special teams contributor over the next four years. He played through the coaching transition from the Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez staffs. In 2002 and 2003, the Mountaineers went 17-9.
“You could see the talent level rising and mixing in with a good teamwork attitude. Leading all the way up to the 2005 through 2007 seasons, you could see the talent getting better each year.”
King joined the Bridgeport High School coaching staff in 2010 and the Indians have won four Class AA state championships (2013-2015, 2019) in the past decade. He has been the defensive coordinator in the past two seasons.
“The exciting part was being able to add your own wrinkles. We kept a lot of the same base terminologies. But we have added several wrinkles the last few years. The challenging part for me was the back end of the defense. I personally played and coached in the box on both sides of the ball. I have gotten to where I am pretty comfortable with it now.”
One of the unique challenges of coaching defense at Bridgeport is going against the Indians’ traditional run-dominated offense in practice on a daily basis. With more opponents moving to pass-heavy spread offenses, King’s defense had to get different looks against an offense that ran the ball on 94 percent of snaps last season.
“When I first got to Bridgeport, they started practice with skelly drills. Even on offensive practice days, we would do a skelly drill for a half hour to 45 minutes, working with the defensive backs and the linebackers. I always wondered where that came about and now I see why. It is because your defense doesn’t really get a look when we scrimmage against our offense. We have kept that tradition.
“Last year, Sean Snider, who is our quarterbacks coach who can really wing it, he played skelly quarterback the whole season. He probably has a sore arm, but he did a great job.”
Bridgeport has advanced to the playoffs every year since 1993, a streak that covers 27 seasons. Their last losing season came in 1967.
“This is a cliche, but we have really, really good players. Not all are Division I kids like (Dante) Bonamico and (Dylan) Tonkery, but we have a lot of kids that sign at Division II schools and become good players.”
The Bridgeport defense allowed just 11.4 points per game last season. In the Class AA state championship game against Bluefield, the Indians held the Beavers to a season-low fourteen points.
“We had to stop their run game. J.J. Davis went on to sign at Marshall and there’s a reason for that. When they have a good run game going they are successful. When you make them one-dimensional and they have to pass, not so much. He averaged around three yards a carry and had over twenty carries. That was where we wanted to fit in our defensive game plan.”
King must find a way to replace the team’s three leading tacklers last season in Carson Winkie, Trey Pancake and Michael Watkins.
“The biggest question mark will be replacing Michael Watkins at defensive tackle. He was a one-man wrecking crew. We have some very good young talent. The sophomore class we have coming in may be the most talented group since I have been here as a whole. That is really saying something. We are excited to get these new kids on the field and get their names out there.”