Six words summed up Gerad Adams’ sentiments after being fired yesterday: “What more could I have done?”
Normally, coaches get the boot when they or their team under-perform. That’s certainly not the situation in the case of Sheffield Steelers’ team boss who won the Play Offs a few months after taking over the team, in 2014, and then took them to the biggest domestic prize of them all, this year’s Elite League title. On the face of it, that - and the fact Adams got Steelers to the finals of the Challenge Cup and the Play Offs, should not only have been enough to secure his already-agreed second full-term at the helm, but possibly extend it.
Sport is fickle mistress. And business certainly has no regard for the concept of loyalty if rewards can be escallated, either. So what is really behind this curious move - one which excited almost wholesale disapproval amongst the club’s fan base?
Adams, for one, is at a loss to explain. Within 45 minutes of being axed yesterday, he accepted a call from the The Star - the same agreeable professional...but also a damaged man who’d just returned from holiday with his young family, eager to start plotting a new recruitment campaign. The Canadian was forced to accept a decision he couldn’t understand. “It is frustrating. I did my best and delivered the title they had been wanting for years. Crowds were up, entertaining hockey was up, but I walk away with my head high - proud of what I accomplished.”
Club owner Tony Smith’s decision is hard to contextualise without revealing the complete background. And that will only be disclosed when he reveals the name of the next man in the hot seat.