Building a team together

Co-head coaches for Madison College women’s basketball focus on developing young team


Clarion Staff Photo

Madison College women’s basketball co-coaches James Adams, left, and Mike Mayfield, right, visit with their team during a timeout against Rockford University JV on Nov. 17.

Kelly Feng, Managing Editor

Although basketball coaches James Adams and Mike Mayfield have coached together for several years, this season they are starting from scratch. With a roster of eight first-year students, three returning sophomores and one transfer, Adams and Mayfield will work in tandem this year, serving as co-head coaches for the women’s basketball team to replace Lois Heeren.

This season, the WolfPack relies heavily on their first-year students. While the freshmen adjust to the rigors of college life and being student-athletes, they take great pride in bright spots like a recent win while playing in Michigan. The WolfPack won two games in a row against two Division II schools —North Central Michigan College and Bay College.

Both Contribute Different Skill Sets
Adams sees himself motivating the student-athletes to find their focus and purpose. Another goal is to teach them how to play as a cohesive unit, which means believing in the “we,” not “me.”
He will have the chance to inspire his players very soon. For 10 years, Adams was the head varsity coach at Madison East High School. During that time, he produced several Division I players, one of them being Erin Howard, a senior forward at Florida State.
The Florida State Seminoles will play the Wisconsin Badgers on Dec. 1, a game the WolfPack is attending.
They will use this opportunity for a team bonding event, along with an evening of karaoke after the game.
“We got some things planned for the girls to keep that positive mojo as we continue to rack up more wins,” Adams said. He said there are different dynamics to coaching women’s basketball.
“You got different emotions and different levels of athleticism. Women are very intelligent. They process things, we can go over plays, and they can get it. They want to hear it from many different angles on how to get the play right,” he said.
Adams, a middle school student and family engagement specialist at Kromrey Middle School during the day, sees his career as a blessing.
“You got an opportunity to work your way up to become a head coach, especially at the collegiate level. I just got to take it day by day, one step at a time and leave it in God’s hands. The team will be very successful as we continue to grow.”

Recruitment Refresh
The WolfPack is also returning to the drawing board with recruiting, an area Mayfield likes to focus on. While the team has always had a lot of talent, the 2020 pandemic hurt the team’s recruiting as the rhythm of reaching out was disrupted.
“That really hurt us a lot because then you’re coming back after COVID. We really couldn’t get out and recruit like we should,” Mayfield said.
When building team friendships, Mayfield mentioned the Madison College Course ropes course. They also condition at Elver Park, another occasion to team build.
Mayfield, a vocational/transition assistant at Monona Grove High School, sees scrimmages as an additional way of confidence building.
“We had some scrimmages, and that was some great bonding because I got a chance to sit down and talk to people doing the scrimmage — just to talk to players, and they talk to each other,” Mayfield said.

Going Forward
As head coach, Adams says that head coaches come in with philosophies and have different thought processes about the team’s makeup and how to utilize talent.
“As an assistant coach, you’re helping kids out, working them out, training them. As co-head coaches, those responsibilities are now in our hands. We have to deal with and try to balance throughout the season,” Adams said.
He’s excited about his partnership with Mayfield because “He (Mayfield) wants to get things done, not only individually but collectively. So I think it’s a pretty good match.”
Mayfield sees working with his long-time coaching partner as a way to enhance the game. He said co-head coaching with Adams often involves collaborating on different aspects of the game.
“We work off each other. We talk about the players because a lot are young. This is their first college go-around, so we definitely talk about the things we need to do and everything to make them better,” said Mayfield. “I’m working with coach Adams. I mean, I got so much talent. I am surrounded by so much talent.“