Meet Mike Adams, a Murray athletics mainstay who's helped create many lasting memories for athletes and parents
Oct 03, 2019 12:07PM
By Carl Fauver
An active volunteer for his kids’ baseball and football teams, Mike Adams served as president when Murray hosted the Babe Ruth Baseball World Series. (Photo courtesy Mike Adams)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
As his children aged out of various little league sports programs, Mike Adams understood they would need to move on to more experienced coaches particularly as they entered Murray High School.
But like many involved fathers, Adams wanted to continue actively supporting his daughter and three sons.
And now, nearly a full decade after he picked up his first still camera, hundreds of Murray High School athletes and their parents, are thrilled for the lifetime memories Adams’ “hobby” helped them capture.
“I have always enjoyed being involved in my kids’ activities,” Adams said. “Years ago, I served as the Murray Ute Conference Football president and was also the Babe Ruth Baseball vice president. But, as the kids aged out of those programs, I had to come up with another way to stay involved.”
During those little league years, Adams videotaped games and put together highlight films for players and their families. But in 2010 he shifted from video to still photography. A rewarding new hobby was born.
For years, the Murray Journal has tapped Adams for football, basketball and baseball photographs. The Murray High School yearbook staff has done likewise. Several of the various Spartan teams have also “employed” him to take formal team pictures.
“They paid me a little, here and there,” Adams said. “But it was never enough to pay for my equipment, let alone make any money. But that’s not why I got into it. Mostly, I began taking pictures to have something to do when my kids played.”
Mike and Dana Adams were both members of the Murray High School class of 1982, though they were barely acquaintances back then. They married in 1991. Children Ashley (2006), Keaton (2010), Court (2013) and McKade (2016) all have MHS diplomas.
“Ashley was active with the Murray High School dance company,” Adams added. “But I was still busy then videotaping the boys’ teams. I didn’t get into the still photos until after she graduated.”
Ashley went on to earn a finance degree from the University of Utah and is now a certified public accountant. She and her husband, Scott, are raising Adams’ three grandsons back in Cleveland, Ohio.
But his sons are still nearby: Court and his wife, Mikaela, in Sandy and Keaton and McKade, still in Murray.
All three of the Adams boys played high school football. Keaton also wrestled and competed in track, while Court played baseball and McKade also competed in field events for the Spartan track squad.
In all, the boys provided nine steady years of sports photography opportunities for Dad.
“It was cool to have my dad taking pictures at our games; and I am grateful both my parents were so involved in my education,” Keaton said. “I have always admired my parents for how involved they are in the community. I love Murray; it’s an amazing place. And my parents taught me the importance of providing volunteer service.”
The lessons must have stuck, because Keaton has already served a two-year mission to Rio de Janeiro for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also volunteered for a summer in Peru. Closer to home, he’s donated time assisting his former MHS football and track teams. The oldest Adams boy is now pursuing a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Utah, with plans to one day teach the subject at the high school or college level.
Middle son Court is a wealth advisor while his wife attends the University of Utah and works in retail management.
McKade is the only one of the Adams children to play a season of college football. A massive 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, McKade played one season for the New Mexico Military Institute—a junior college in Roswell—before departing for his church mission in Mexico City.
“It was awesome having my dad as the high school sports photographer,” McKade said. “He started out taking pictures just for family. But so many of our teammates and their parents wanted pictures also. That’s what led to Dad creating his website.”
Any thoughts of “retiring” from his hobby after McKade graduated have been pushed to the back burner by dozens if not hundreds of parents, along with at least one Murray Journal sports writer. A glance at glossy-sports-photos.smugmug.com today will reveal several hundred photos of this year’s Spartan football team. Some of the best appear elsewhere in this publication.
“Parents and kids still want pictures,” Adams added. “Plus, my wife works the Murray High School basketball games, so photography gives me something to do when I join her at the games.”
Dana Adams has been a secretary in the Murray High School counseling office for eight years. Prior to that, she was an aide at Hillcrest Junior High. Her family’s Murray roots run even deeper than her husband’s.
“One of my grandmothers and both of my parents graduated from Murray High,” Dana said. “Mom also taught in the Murray School District, while Dad taught and coached at Granite High School. Mike and I have always felt it was important to be involved in our kids’ education. I think we helped teach them the importance of good time management. And we taught them not to quit any teams. If you make a commitment, you have to stay with it.”
In keeping with the family’s dedication to volunteerism, Dana is also a past PTSA president for Parkside Elementary, Hillcrest Junior and Murray Senior High Schools.
Also numbering among Adams’ fans is Murray City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Sorensen. Seven years ago, they were co-presidents of the national Babe Ruth Baseball World Series, featuring nine teams that travelled to Murray from as far away as the New England states, Hawaii and Guam.
“I was the Murray Parks superintendent at that time, so I was being paid for much of the time I worked on the tournament,” Sorensen said. “But Mike’s time was all volunteer. The tournament ran 10 days and kept us busy for 40 to 60 hours a week, leading up to it. Mike was great to work with and the tournament seemed to come off well.”
Sorensen is also the proud owner of some of Adams’ pictures.
“Mike’s photos are exemplary,” he added. “I have purchased photos at various tournaments taken by other professional photographers. Mike’s are as good or better than any of them. And it’s because he cares so much about the kids.”
As the sight of Murray High continues to grow smaller in the rearview mirrors of his kids’ lives, the biggest remaining question is… how much longer will athletes’ parents (and this newspaper) be able to count on Adams’ hobby?
“I still enjoy photography; but not as much as when my kids were on teams,” Adams confessed. “It’s also getting harder to do now, with more work conflicts. But I plan to stick with it for as long as I can. I am on my third camera now. I guess I better wear it out, too and then see what happens after that.”