California Baptist University’s Gary Adcock, head baseball coach, and Rick Rowland, men and women’s swim coach, were recognized Jan. 21 for their immense work and effort as both were inducted into the Riverside Hall of Fame.
Rowland’s career started as a teenager working alongside his father, who was a coach at Pepperdine University.
“I worked with kids ages 10-18 years old during my dad’s water polo and swim camps,” Rowland said.
Since the beginning of his career, Rowland had a focus on teaching athletes the necessary skills and fundamentals. Now, he focuses on teaching athletes to be well-rounded individuals in every area of their lives.
“We are working with a higher level of athlete now,” Rowland said. “We would like them to develop into a student-athlete that is committed to winning team titles while striving for excellence in the classroom and growing spiritually while they are here at CBU.”
Throughout his coaching career at CBU, Rowland said his favorite memories are the bonds created with athletes, winning two titles this last season and, ultimately, when alumni return.
“Hearing one (of) my alumni return to lead our weekly team devotion and give their testimony how CBU impacted them to find Christ and grow in Christ brought me to tears,”
Rowland added that his favorite part about coaching is seeing his athletes progress.
“You have the opportunity to watch them grow in many different areas,” Rowland said.
Rowland said he is grateful and,above all humbled, to be named to the Riverside HOF.
“My name is there with pro-athletes, Olympians and many incredible coaches and community members, but in a way it means I’m getting older,” Rowland said.
Katelynn Liddell, alumna of CBU and a former swimmer, said coach Rowland impacts his players with his attitude and management.
“He is laid-back and loves life, which inspires his swimmers to be the same way,” Liddell said.
“It was fun having him as a coach. He gets work done, but has a good time along the way.”
Alongside Rowland in the Riverside HOF is Adcock, who began his coaching career in his final year of his own collegiate baseball career at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“My playing days were ending and I didn’t want to get away from the game,” Adcock said. “I began helping as an undergrad assistant with different aspects of the game, from batting to hitting some fun groundouts.”
Adcock said his favorite part about coaching is he never feels like he is going to work.
“Some people say ‘I have to go to work’ or ‘I have to go to my job’ but I don’t feel like I am working,” Adcock said. “I’m passionate about (the) development of these guys spiritually, athletically and academically.”
Adcock said he enjoys the connections with his athletes that coaching has provided, especially when alumni make an appearance.
“I get satisfaction in seeing them come back to alumni games and so forth; I’m doing what God wanted me to do,” Adcock said.
After learning of his Riverside HOF recognition, Adcock’s initial reaction was spent reflecting on his 24-year-long coaching career.
“You don’t get recognized for something like that if you haven’t been doing it for a while,” Adcock said.
Humbled by his recognition, Adcock said his players and the community around him have played a part in this milestone.
“I have great affinity for the city of Riverside, for CBU, for baseball and the alumni and current players who play for me and my assistant coaches,” Adcock said. “It was great that all their work got recognized because it tied everything that I hold dear to me together.”
Nathan Antoun, alumnus and former baseball player, said Adcock significantly impacted his life on and off the field.
“In my time at CBU, I learned the true meaning of words like commitment, dedication and integrity,” Antoun said. “These words become ingrained in the character of the products of CBU baseball and we carry them with us as we go through life. I learned what it means to find a way and get it done with no excuses.”
Antoun said life is like baseball as it does not always go as planned, but Adcock set an example and motivated them to push through and keep going.
“Excuses never fix the problem, work does,” Antoun said. “When things do not go right for coach, he simply works harder, whether that means using his day off to drive eight hours to scout a game, hold a longer practice or look for other options to fix the problem.”
Antoun described Adcock as the type of person who will work relentlessly in order to be successful because, for Adcock, baseball is more than a game.
After years of dedication to CBU, both coaches will be enshried by the Riverside HOF as their names go down in history along with the city of Riverside’s finest athletes, coaches and those who made impacts.