MAHOMET — Jon Adkins was a senior at Charleston High School when he traveled up to Mahomet in 2004 to watch the Bulldogs clash with Mount Zion in a Class 4A playoff game.
The stands were packed, the band was deafening and the atmosphere was electric.
Adkins knew right then and there that he wanted to be the head football coach at Mahomet-Seymour one day.
His dream is about to come true. On March 11, the M-S Board of Education will meet to officially anoint Adkins as just the fourth M-S head football coach since 1971.
"This is just an awesome opportunity for me," Adkins said. "The facilities they got; obviously, the talent, the finances, the community and the amazing school district. It makes it a special place. It's a place I always wanted to call home."
Adkins will replace Keith Pogue who guided the Bulldogs to the playoffs in nine of his 11 years leading the program. Pogue stepped down after the 2018 season with a career record of 72-39.
But Adkins' hire ushers in a new direction for Mahomet-Seymour football.
Adkins was the head coach at Peoria Heights (2010-15) and Jerseyville (2016-17) and served as the assistant coach and defensive coordinator for Cape Coral (Fla.) High School last year. Adkins will bring plenty of enthusiasm and energy to the Bulldogs' sideline.
"I'll definitely bring some excitement," Adkins said. "It's fun, it's excitement, it's energy, it's passion, it's emotion. You're going to see that on the field on Friday nights. Our kids are going to fly around, they're going to play exciting football, and they're going to have fun doing it. My energy and emotion will rub off onto the players and out onto the field on Friday nights."
Adkins has already tabbed Michael Burner as his assistant coach. Burner held offensive coordinator duties last fall and also coached the offensive line.
"Burner is an awesome guy," Adkins said. "He was in on my interview process, so I got to meet him. He's been my right-hand man. I've leaned on him for so much. He's embraced that role. He's done everything in his power to help me be successful and to help us be successful. That's what we all want; Mahomet to be successful, and for our kids to go on and be successful."
Adkins will fill out the rest of his coaching staff once he makes the permanent move to Mahomet.
"I'm going to do everything I can do to put together the best staff at Mahomet," Adkins said. "I believe that's what separates most teams from the rest — the staff you have. We have the players, we have the facilities, we have the community support, but know we have to have the best coaching staff."
Adkins currently owns a career record of 17-56 over his eight-year run as a head coach. Seventeen wins in eight years is certainly a black mark, but context is absolutely needed.
Adkins took over a Peoria Heights program that had just 16 kids in the entire program. In the two years leading up to Adkins' arrival, Peoria Heights had a 1-17 record.
"I hate to say this, but if only people knew how bad it was," Adkins said. "But then we were able to get 50 kids on our roster, make it to the playoffs, and beat a rival school for the first time in school history. After we made it to the playoffs, you would've thought we won the Super Bowl in that town. When you talk about those other things, it really puts things into perspective."
Peoria Heights, Jerseyville and Cape Coral all had one thing in common: rebuilds. Adkins won't be taking over a similar situation at M-S.
The Bulldogs only went 3-6 last year and missed the playoffs, but M-S had tight losses to both Mascoutah (21-20) and Mattoon (31-28). Plus, M-S had chances in the second half against Taylorville and Mount Zion to pull out wins which would've put the Bulldogs into the playoffs.
Adkins isn't taking over a program that is at rock-bottom.
"It's a reload, not a rebuild," Adkins said. "That's a good term. I'm excited to have had this opportunity because everywhere I've taken over, have all been rebuilds. You take over a program that's reloading, not rebuilding, it's a blessing in itself and I can't wait to start this opportunity."
Adkins will tailor his offense to his personnel, but he certainly wants to play up-tempo. That type of playing style should mesh well with running back Clay Hubble. As a sophomore, Hubble rushed for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 8.0 yards per carry.
Hubble could be poised for a huge junior season in 2019.
"The thing I take pride in is that on the offensive side of the ball we're going to play as fast as we possibly can," Adkins said.
As just a high schooler, Adkins saw how special Mahomet-Seymour football is. Losing isn't tolerated and the foundation for success has been laid.
Adkins is eager to get the ball rolling and get M-S back in the playoffs.
"I can't wait to meet the kids and get this thing going," Adkins said. "I'm always working all the time, and I want to be the best at everything that I do. I'm beyond grateful and excited, but now it's time to go to work."