Adolph earns National Recognition
Georgia Adolph never played volleyball or participated in track and field in high school.
But nearly 50 years later, she is being recognized nationally for her achievements as a coach. Adolph will be inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame June 25 at an event in Bismarck, N.D. She is one of two South Dakota coaches being honored for their achievements; contributions to their schools, communities and states; years of service in high school sports, and unselfish commitment to young athletes.
Adolph works as a paraprofessional and an assistant track coach at Flandreau High School, after a 31-year career teaching elementary physical education. She also was the volleyball head coach for 18 years, taking a team to state in 1987.
“I retired in 2011 and came back because I missed kids,” she said.
During her years coaching, she has worked with some champion athletes, but she’s also enjoyed working with students who just tried their best to do well.
“They give me a bad time about being old-school. I said old-school is good,” she said. “You compete against yourself; you try to improve your own skills and abilities.”
Adolph has found her niche coaching long, triple and high jumpers. She also works some with sprinters and relay teams. She also officiates some for volleyball and runs the shot clock for boys’ and girls’ basketball games.
Flandreau Superintendent Rick Weber said Adolph has been a big part of athletics for the district and the state. “She was a pioneer in the coaching ranks back when Title IX was just in the beginning stages,” he said.
When she attended country school as a child, she was the only girl out of five students so she got used to competing in games against the boys. “I was a farm girl,” she said.
When she went to town to school, she experienced her first physical education classes and fell in love, taking PE all four years of high school and helping the teacher her junior and senior years. “I really liked that,” she said of the profession she would pursue in college.
Adolph, 67, graduated from Platte High School in 1970, got a teaching degree in physical education from South Dakota State University and taught two years in Wessington Springs. After that, she returned to SDSU to earn a master’s degree and started in 1979 in Flandreau during the early years of girls’ high school sports.
She and her husband, Walt, live on an acreage north of Flandreau and have two grown children, Eric, an assistant strength and conditioning coach at SDSU, and Melissa Sober, a physical therapy assistant in Guam.
She is on the board at Second Presbyterian Church and serves on the South Dakota High School Coaches Association Board of Directors as chairwoman of the scholarship committee and is the executive secretary of the South Dakota Cross Country, Track and Field Coaches Association. She also has been president of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association and is in the South Dakota Coaches Hall of Fame.
Weber said Adolph has a good connection with students. “A huge part of coaching is to get the athletes to believe and trust in the coach, as well as to get them to listen to the instruction,” he said. “Georgia has that ability to get the kids focused on the task at hand, and the kids seem to respond to her coaching style.”
Adolph has a simple philosophy when it comes to inspiring athletes.
“When you first try something, you try to remind them things might not go good at first,” she said. “Do your best. Stick with it. Don’t give up.”