From Braves to Chiefs

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 4, 2017 in

His brother’s experience during his own campus visit is all Bobby Adamson ’12 needed when making a final decision about whether or not to enroll at Ottawa University. He was looking for a place to transfer to for his final two years of college while his brother Travis ’14 was being recruited by OU head football coach Kent Kessinger to play wide receiver for the Braves. Bobby had previously spoken with Kessinger and was interested in joining the football team, but didn’t want to interfere with his brother’s recruiting experience. He had already been through that process a couple years before and felt it was important for Travis to make his own decisions on which college to attend and not be influenced by what his older brother wanted to do. Bobby never made a trip to campus and had not met a single person from OU. And Travis’ experience during his visit was enough to bring two Adamson’s to OU.

“Travis made a great sales pitch,” (Bobby) Adamson said. “I decided this was the place I wanted to transfer to and moved down the summer of 2010. I spent the summer learning the football playbook and getting ready to compete for the quarterback position. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how welcoming and inviting everyone at OU was. It felt like home.”

Adamson transferred to OU after spending three years at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He redshirted his freshman year and was the starting QB his second season on the team. Coming from a small town, arriving at UNK was a pretty eye-opening experience.

“My first two games were against the #21 and #5 teams in the nation,” Adamson said. “We ran a spread offense at Kearney and me as a 6’4” tall, skinny kid wasn’t really the best combo for a running QB. So I ended up splitting time with another QB on the team. He handled the running plays and I took care of the passing ones.”

Thanks to dual credit courses offered at a local community college while he was in high school, he was academically ahead of where he needed to be by the start of his third season. He contemplated transferring but decided to stick around to try and win a conference championship, which they did. After that third season, the offensive coordinator brought him in to the office to discuss his future in the game.

“He told me I had too much potential to only be playing part time and that he knew of a program that would be a great fit for me. He said they threw the ball around a lot and I would be able to show off my skills and my passion for the game. That’s the first time I had heard about Ottawa University. He had coached with Coach Kessinger in the past. The minute Travis made his decision to become a Brave I called Coach K and told him I’d be down there too.”

When he arrived on campus the previous starting QB had just graduated, so there was an open competition for the starting spot. Throughout camp, he split reps with another teammate. Going into a game against Baker University, the first game Adamson played for OU, he made a couple big plays and earned the starting position. By the third game of the season Travis earned a starting spot on the team as well giving the brothers the opportunity of playing collegiate football together. That team lost only one conference game and finished second overall in the KCAC.

In Adamson’s senior year, he was elected a team captain, an honor he takes pride in even today. That year the team won conference and went undefeated earning a trip to Los Angeles to play Azuza Pacific in the first round of the playoffs.

“We lost that game, but it was an incredible experience,” Adamson said. “We got a small taste of what the bigger schools get to do. Fly on a plane to games, play in big stadiums. For many of the guys, it was the first time they’d been on a plane or left the state. We had a goal going into the season of making the playoffs and we were excited to have reached that goal.”

Adamson hadn’t given a lot of thought to playing football after graduation. He had completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration by the end of the fall term and still needed an internship to complete a sports administration degree he had started while at Kearney. He figured he’d get that degree completed and find a job, but the itch to compete was still there. He played a spring season with the Kansas Coyotes Arena Football team in Salina, KS, but that was a path he wasn’t interested in continuing. That’s when a former teammate from Kearney told him about playing professionally in Europe. He was intrigued by the idea so he built a profile page on European League website and was soon contacted by the Nimes Centurions in Nimes, France. The decision to continue his football career was a no-brainer.

“I signed an offer to play football for them for six months. How could I say no? I was fresh out of college, in my mid-20s with no wife or children. I couldn’t turn it down. And while I was there, I immersed myself in the French culture. The people in Nimes were some of the most hospitable people. Their main priority was taking care of us. They wanted to show off their country.”
The Centurions were a run-oriented football team but they were hoping Adamson could help infuse a passing game into their offense.  Not only was he the quarterback, he became a coach as well.

“I took some of the stuff I learned at Ottawa, and Kearney, and put together a playbook. It was rough communicating with everyone at first – they spoke broken English and I spoken very broken French. So I devised hand signals and basic code words for our lineman. And it worked. We won the south division and then the national championship.”

The national championship game was played in
Paris, where from the sideline, Adamson could see the Eiffel Tower.

“I was awestruck. I had been homesick and I felt selfish for being overseas doing this instead of home with my family and girlfriend. But standing in that stadium, it was awesome. We won the championship on the last play of the game; I threw a touchdown to win the game. It was like a storybook ending, the kind you only see in a movie. The entire team was celebrating at the Paris train station and on the bus back to Nimes. These guys were regular guys. They had families and full-time jobs outside of playing football and this was the team they grew up supporting. They were doing French soccer chants on the bus. It was something I had never experienced. And to see them so happy was incredible. For me, it made going over there worth it.”

Adamson went back for another season, but the team had changed. All of the players from the previous season were gone, retiring on top as national champions. It was a much different experience the second time around and while the team was still successful, he basically had to start over in teaching his teammates the plays. After that season, he decided it was time to return home and
find a job.

But he wasn’t ready to give up football completely. Two days before accepting an internship with the Nebraska Huskers football team, the Kansas City Chiefs contacted him about an internship opportunity in the finance department. It’s a dream telephone call for any football fan to receive.

“I may be a diehard Denver Broncos fan (which they did ask about during the interview process) but I couldn’t turn this opportunity down. It’s crazy how things happen, when you realize the man upstairs has a plan for you and everything is going to work out. I had never really given much thought into working in a finance department, but this was a chance to get my foot in the door. It was to be a six-month internship doing all the nitty gritty work. This was my shot and I had to make the most of it.”

What was originally a six-month internship turned into a one-year internship thanks to Adamson’s dedication and devotion to learning and growing within the organization. By April of 2016, his internship turned into a full-time position. And now, Adamson is a staff accountant with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I’m very blessed,” Adamson said. “I know I’m fortunate for the opportunities and talents I’ve been given and I just want to make sure I make the most of them.”

Adamson is most thankful for his family and friends that have stood by him during his football career. He knows his support system has helped him get to where he is today. His sister was a member of the Bethany College volleyball team at the same time he and Travis were at OU, so his parents were able to come down and support all three of them during that time. The siblings were also able to travel to support each other. His family traveled to Los Angeles for the playoff game and France to see him play professional ball. And they are planning another trip to France this summer to see Travis play.

He credits his professors at Ottawa University and what he learned in the classrooms for his success off the football field. His two years at OU continues to guide him in life.

“The classes I took there were impactful. Things were applied to real world situations. Now when I’m working, I can think back to my business classes and what I learned there and apply them to the situation I’m facing at work. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without my support system, both at home and at OU. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”