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Joe Adams, who has coached varsity softball for more consecutive seasons than any other Howard County coach, has resigned his position atOakland Mills High School.

"The dean of softball is retiring," said Adams, who last month completed his ninth straight spring for the Scorpions.

Adams, a 41-year-old art teacher who has taught and coached at Oakland Mills since 1978, cited several reasons for stepping down, ranging from personal to monetary.

"I want to spend some more time with my wife (Diane). And we've got some good talent coming up that a young, fresh coach will get a lot out of," said Adams.

"Another reason is I really can't afford to coach softball anymore, with us (teachers) not getting our six percent (raise) or our steps (increment) next year. I make $2,000 coaching softball, but after taxes and paying my assistant coaches, that leaves me with about $1,100. I can make more than that in two weekends of bartending," added Adams, who works during the summer at a night club in Dewey Beach, Del.

Adams, who became involved in the Oakland Mills' softball program when he came to the school, took over as varsity coach in 1983, when the Scorpions were perennially camped in the county's second division.

Under Adams, the Scorpions quickly regained respectability.

In 1986, they advanced to their first regional championship game. Three years later, behind pitcher and Player of the Year Amy Meisinger, Oakland Mills went 11-1, won the county championship, then lost in the regional finalsto Centennial in extra innings. The Scorpions never have played in astate tournament.

Oakland Mills, plagued by inexperience and a tough, non-league schedule, suffered through a 5-13 season this spring,the worst year since Adams took over.

"We've come from being the doormats of Howard County to a respectable position," said Adams, whohinted that he may return to coaching. "We started to have some success, then word got around and every year we kept building. More girlswanted to be part of the success. I'm not ruling it (a comeback) out. Right now, I need a break."

"Joe is very organized and very intense," said Ken Klock, Oakland Mills' athletic director, who will try to fill Adams' position from within the school before advertising thejob.

"I never worried about things getting down with him. He brought the program back. Sometimes we get coaches who are sponsors more than coaches. Joe is a real coach."

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