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NCAA Football: Lofty goals for Hawks' mentor

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 17. 2017 12:05AM
St. Anselm quarterback Eric Fairweather, from Londonderry, escapes a tackle by University of New Haven's Larry Johnson during New Haven's 23-7 win Saturday. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

GOFFSTOWN - As a football coach, Joe Adam is inherently impatient.

Despite this trait, Adam knows it will take some time to mold St. Anselm College into the program he envisions it can be.

Now in his second year as the Hawks' head coach, Adam is trying to turn around a program that has registered two winning seasons (2000, 2014) since the millennium started. St. Anselm is 0-3 this season following its 23-7 loss to the University of New Haven Saturday at Grappone Stadium.

"I'm not a very patient person. That's part of being a coach," Adam said Saturday. "But I know where we are and where we aren't. It's going to take a little bit of time to build the team that I think can be sustainable, and I'm talking about a championship-type program."

Adam has more than 20 years of coaching experience and spent time at Syracuse, Elmhurst College, Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State prior to coming to St. Anselm.

The Hawks went 2-9 overall and 2-7 in Northeast-10 Conference play under Adam last season.

"It's a little bit of a build here and we knew that when we started this thing," Adam said. "I'm really encouraged with the effort of our guys. We've been able to change our culture off the field. That's a testament to the players that we've recruited and the players that have stuck around and gone all in with us."

Adam and his players crafted the team's mission statement, which states it wants to be a high-intensity, first-class program driven by a brotherhood that always expects to win. Quarterback Eric Fairweather, a junior from Londonderry, said the players wear shirts under their suits when traveling on the road that feature the statement.

"That's what we want to live by as a culture," Fairweather said. "We want to be feared in the NE-10."

Fairweather has noticed a change within the team and also in how the program is perceived around the Hilltop.

"Throughout the whole campus people respect us more as a football team and just in general," Fairweather said. "(Adam) is changing the culture and I think it really all came together last spring."

During spring ball last year, the players began to mesh together and further strengthened that chemistry this semester when the freshmen joined the program, Fairweather said.

This season's recruiting class is Adam's first. While on the recruiting trail, Adam looked for players that would bring good attitudes, enthusiasm and effort and could improve positions he felt needed addressing. St. Anselm brought in 48 freshmen this season, including six New Hampshire residents.

Adam said none of the potential recruits he met with talked about the school's exploration into joining the Division III ranks that began in 2015 and concluded last year. St. Anselm did not give athletic scholarships during the 2015-16 school year but restored them last year.

While the team has athletic scholarships to give, St. Anselm does not have as many at its disposal as other NE-10 schools.

Adam would not disclose the exact number but did say he'd estimate the Hawks rank in the lower third of the 10-team conference in terms of athletic scholarships.

"Do we have more than everybody else? No," Adam said. "But we have what we have, we control what we control and move forward that way."

Over the rest of the season, Adam wants to see the Hawks improve each week and build their resilience. He knows he will need to be patient but Adam is committed into turning the Hawks into an NE-10 title contender.

"I'm not interested if we're not interested in winning championships here," Adam said. "When it will turn? I'm hoping sooner than later."

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