End of an era

Coach Adelmann moves on from Jones after 13 years


Coach Andrew Adelmann informed his cross country team at their banquet on Nov. 17 that he would be leaving Jones to take another teaching and coaching position at Downers Grove North High School after 13 years of coaching the Eagles. 

Adelmann got his start at Jones in 2008 after leaving his job in the business world once realizing that a business office job was not his true calling.

“I was two years out of college and had worked in the executive search consultancy for two years and I was not enjoying it,” said Adelmann. “I felt kind of called to what I actually wanted to do, which was coach and teach.”

Adelmann then applied to three cross country jobs online: Jones, Payton, and the girls cross country team at Loyola Academy. Jones was the first school to call back. 

“I interviewed and took the [cross country] job in October of 2008,” said Adelmann. “I wanted to be a special education teacher and a special education aid position opened up. So, I had actually started working in the building as a special education aid in February 2010.”

As a young coach, Adelmann earned the respect of his runners and the runners bought into his system. 

“Adelmann would always say what needed to be said as a coach. He would never miss an opportunity to say how proud he was of the team or individual guys for not only achievements, but perseverance, growth, and hard work,” said former team captain Ned Wojcik ‘21. “He would also tell you if you had a bad race, workout, or overall mentality, and would tell you exactly what you needed to change.”

As the entire team banded together and bought into the system, the success of the team increased over the years on all levels.

“Since 2010 we’ve won 32 city championships across all four levels [Freshman, Sophomore, JV, and Varsity],” said Adelmann. “We’ve won six varsity city championships, including the last four in a row, ten JV titles, ten freshman titles, and six sophomore titles.”

All of these titles were in city competitions, the state competitions are even more staggering.

“We’ve won five regional championships, three sectional championships, and won the state championship in 2012,” stated Adelmann. “We were seventh in the state in 2011.”

Along the way, there were many ups and downs but the team stayed together and weathered the storms while also making great memories.

“There were official competitions but I still wanted to achieve my goal of breaking 4:20 in the mile. That time trial it was just coach, a few teammates, parents, and myself,” said another former captain Anthony Maida ‘20. “I ran a 4:19 and coach came over and we exchanged an embrace. It was very emotional after all we had gone through the last four years, especially with COVID-19 those last few months.”

Runners expressed how the values Adelmann taught them when they first started helped inspire them in their most important races.

“After being injured for a hard six months, I was finally able to race again. I ran a great race under the values he has taught me over the years,” said current team captain Ethan Sterling ‘22. “When I finished the race, coach came up to me, gave me a hug, and said how proud he was of me.”

When Adelmann announced to his team that he would be leaving, emotions were strong, but the team understood that it was his time to move on. 

“I was very emotional when he announced to the team that he was leaving,” said Sterling. “It is unfortunate that I won’t be able to have him for my last track season and that future runners at Jones won’t be able to have him as a coach.”

This decision did not come easy to Adelmann either, especially with the vast amount of relationships he built with runners and families. 

“It was my life’s work in terms of what I’ve dedicated almost half my life to and to walk away from it was difficult,” said Adelmann. “Jones is a building and the team is a program, but it is more walking away from the people and the relationships that have been built over the years. It was really difficult.”

However, the long-lasting effect that Adelmann has had on the Jones community is something that will forever be remembered.

“Coach Adelmann was a mentor to me through my four years at Jones,” said Wojick. “He always wanted us to be the best people we could be outside of the sport more importantly than anything on the course or the track.”

And Adelmann knows that the team will still be successful although he will not be a part of the program.

“I want to make one thing really clear: when a coach leaves at any institution the gravity of that doesn’t escape me, I understand it, but this program is bigger than me, this program more than any one runner, this program is bigger than any one team,” said Adelmann. “This is about a collective of people, families, parents, runners that come together and get it done, and I am but a very small piece of that.”