For The Adelman Family, "It's Time"
Rick Adelman said a lot of things and answered a lot of questions during Monday’s press conference announcing his retirement from coaching after 23 seasons, but in the end two words had the most impact:
It’s time, because Rick Adelman has done the balancing act long enough. He’s a family man, first and foremost. You hear it in how he talks about his wife, Mary Kay, and his children—two of whom, R.J. and David, worked with him in the Timberwolves organization. You saw it in how he embraced his wife in April 2013 when he won his 1,000th NBA game. And you felt it when he took time away during Mary Kay’s health scare last year, and how he took much of the offseason last year contemplating if he wanted to return.
Now, the time is right. Behind the scenes, it’s never been Rick Adelman going through this alone. His family has supported him during his years of travel, of late nights and of moving across the country for the next coaching gig. This has been an Adelman family affair since the beginning, and you got the impression on Monday that there was a bit of relief and closure in his words as he said, “It’s time.”
“You get some time off in the summer, but it’s pretty much on your mind all the time,” Adelman said. “So there’s some sadness, but there’s also a relief. I’m ready, and my wife’s ready to move on to another phase. We’re looking forward to that.”
Adelman won 1,042 games in the NBA for five different organizations. His wife and family were with him every step of the way, encouraging him and giving him support. Some eventually bought in to the point of following in his footsteps into the NBA. With R.J. as Director of Player Personnel and David as an assistant coach here for the Wolves, he had an opportunity to have both of his sons on board for three seasons in Minnesota.
Even though he’s joked in the past that he thought they shouldn’t follow in his footsteps due to the stress and uncertainty of the job, Adelman enjoyed the chance to work with two of his six children within the organization.
“It was special, and I was glad I was able to do it and I appreciate the fact that they’re still going to be here for next year,” said Adelman, alluding to R.J. and David still being under contract and expected to stay for the 2014-15 season. “I don’t’ know why they want to be involved in it—I tried to discourage them, but it didn’t work. So I really enjoyed it. But like I said, my family has been part of it and we flew all the grandkids in January and they came to a game. That’s fun. That’s the fun part of it.”
Family was a reason why Adelman initially accepted the job with Minnesota prior to the 2011-12 season. With the Wolves interested, Adelman met with owner Glen Taylor and was impressed early on with the type of character and family-oriented focus he showcased. It’s a trait that, on Monday, Adelman said made Taylor one of the greatest owners he’s ever worked for.
During Mary Kay’s health concerns last year, Adelman said Taylor was steadfast in ensuring he take as much time as he needed to make sure his wife was OK. That went a long way with Adelman. He appreciated the support he received from his owner from Day 1 through his final day on the job.
When Adelman won his 1,000th game last year, Taylor said the family involvement was something he could see was important to Adelman from the very beginning.
“Even when we interviewed, that was one of the things we talked about—the importance of not only the family for me but family for him,” Taylor said last April. “That’s one of the things that I think drew us together for this job, and so we talked about having his sons and how we might utilize their skills. And I think it worked out really well for us.”
That night, David talked about how important it was for the Adelman family to be there to see Adelman win that 1,000th game. They’d been with him since the beginning, and witnessing Adelman become part of the exclusive 1,000-win club was a cool moment.
“It’s just extremely special,” David said after that win. “You know, we’ve been around him the whole time, the whole career. And just for our family, he’s always been about family. So it was cool to see my mom down there. It’s just a great accomplishment.”
Now, there will be time for many more family memories—only away from the court. He and his wife like to play golf and tennis, so they’ll have some time for that. They can travel—albeit at a much more leisurely pace than during the NBA season—and they can keep busy with their grandkids.
For now, it’s time for a new chapter in the Rick Adelman book. He’ll be a consultant for the Wolves, adding his input on personnel decisions, but the day-to-day basketball grind is in the past.
It’s time for a new beginning.
“There’s second thoughts and everything else, but Mary Kay and I talked about it and again, we came to the conclusion, thinking about another year, thinking about the travel, especially. That was the biggest thing,” Adelman said. “When you’re on the road all the time—and of course she’s had some problems and everything, and all that stuff enters into it. We’re doing fine right now, and we want to keep it that way. And like I said, enjoy other things in life.”