Historic Conard Coach Retires After 2021 Fall Season
“You can’t win here” were the words Coach Adam Linker was told by a staff member when he first took the job as the Conard Varsity Boys Soccer coach. Coach Linker was doubted and challenged throughout his stint coaching at Conard but continuously exceeded expectations and took the Conard program to uncharted territory. In his years as coach the team made their way to state quarterfinals multiple times and continuously put up winning records. To go along with the on-field success Linker emphasized an academic and social standard within the program which has had a lasting impact. After another successful season that included a state playoff win among other highlights, Linker announced his stepping back from the program. Here is what he had to say about the past season, why he’s retiring from coaching this team, and what the Conard program has meant to him.
Upon sitting down with Linker he first explained what this last season meant to him, having known entering it that he would be stepping away from the program thereafter. Coach Linker stated that, “there were conflicting emotions” as he coached through this year and that he wanted to, “end on a high note with a normal season,” after having been limited due to Covid-19 restrictions last year. The previous year also included star player Colin Wright breaking his leg and Coach Linker emphasized that he did not want that to be a stain on his final season. This season no players broke their legs (first time in two years) and there were no scheduling changes or restrictions at any point. Linker explained that he was satisfied with the relatively peaceful ending this season provided to his storied coaching time at Conard. “I was happy the players got a normal year for the first time in a few years,” he explained. Coach Linker was purely thankful for a normal season to close out on.
Anthony Catanzaro post-scoring a goal in Linker’s final regular season home matchup
Linker also went on to explain the reasoning for his retirement from coaching. He stated that, “there are long hours that come with coaching. In instances (he) would have to stay at the school until midnight,”. He referenced this tiring schedule to go along with the need to be around his children and at their games more as the key reasons for his retirement. “I promised myself that if my son, or even daughter, were to ask why I wasn’t at their games, I would quit,” he said. Coach Linker held that his family would always come before his coaching life and that is what ultimately played a large role in this final decision. He did, however, say that he would remain involved within the program if his help is asked for and that he does not rule out returning to coaching.
The final aspect that was touched on during Linker’s interview was what the Conard program meant to him and what he has taken from this experience as coach. He explained that he has always been amazed by the support he has gotten within the program after first being doubted as to if he could succeed at this school. He cited the standard of academics he fostered within the program and that he is most proud when he has, “previous players come back to help,” and, “continue to communicate,” with him after leaving the program. He emphasized that the family atmosphere and social standards established under his coaching are what is most important. “I have always valued the family that we build in our program…I require my athletes to be good citizens,” he concluded the conversation. His emphasis on these values are likely what has allowed for so much athletic success to be found on the field as well.
Coach Linker assisting Anthony Catanzaro after injury in 2020
Coach Linker organized and ran a program that experienced extreme success for more than a decade. That within itself would be a success. His teams also maintained an average GPA of 3.6 which ranked among the highest in the state. With both of those aspects in mind, there is still something that was even more valuable under Adam Linker. Coach Linker valued the family he created and beliefs he instilled among his athletes during his time as coach. Thank you Coach Linker for what you did for this program and we wish you the best of luck in your future coaching ventures.