Kyle Adkins said he is more excited than nervous when it comes to taking the place of a highly successful football coach.
“Following Steve Devlin at Archbishop Wood would be difficult for anybody, but I look at it as a good thing and a positive challenge,” Adkins said. “He created a winning foundation, and I want to be the guy to carry that forward.”
Adkins learned he was Wood’s choice to replace Devlin, who compiled a 132-22-1 record (.857 winning percentage) and won five PIAA state championships in 11 seasons, on Friday night.
The 24-year-old was a defensive back and linebacker at Wood (Class of 2012) and a defensive back at Ursinus. He was Wood’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons.
“He’s an intelligent young man, he has shown an ability to connect with the players, and he really impressed our administrators in the interview process,” Wood athletic director Joe Sette said.
Adkins was a three-year starter at Wood, playing safety as a sophomore and junior and linebacker as a senior. “I’m very excited about this opportunity,” he said. “It’s special to be a head coach at a place that did so much for me as a person and player.”
Adkins said he plans to retain most of Devlin’s assistants. He mentioned two veterans, offensive coordinator Chip Ross and wide receivers and defensive backs coach Kurt Stengel, as “guys that are very important moving forward.”
Devlin last season guided the Vikings to a 12-2 overall record, their ninth PIAA District 12 title, and their fifth state crown in the last seven seasons. He stepped down to become the defensive coordinator at Ursinus.
Does Sette worry about Adkins, who was one of Wood’s captains as a senior, being one of the area’s youngest coaches? “Honestly, no,” he said. “Kyle comes across as someone who is very mature, much more mature than his age would suggest.”
Some of Wood’s top returnees in 2018 are quarterback Jack Colyar, running back Chris Blackstone, wide receiver Jake Ross, two-way lineman Connor Bishop, offensive lineman Brett Gross and Luke Stengel, and defensive backs Brad and Kevin Otto.
Adkins, a resident of Holland, is a medical sales representative.