After a long coaching career, James “Butch” McAdams began hosting a celebrated sports radio show “In and Out of Sports.” (Courtesy photo)
After a long coaching career, James “Butch” McAdams began hosting a celebrated sports radio show “In and Out of Sports.” (Courtesy photo)

The DMV has lost another icon in the sports community. In early June, local sports fans mourned the death of A.B. Williamson, and on Sunday, June 23, James “Butch” McAdams died at his home in Northwest D.C., at the age of 74.  There is an irony here: McAdams’ last show was a tribute to Williamson.

Known affectionately as “The Coach,” McAdams’ legacy expands back over five decades.  A graduate of Mackin High School and the University of the District of Columbia, he has made his mark and impacted the lives of many.

From an early age, growing up Northwest, it was apparent to many that McAdams would be destined for a career in sports. 

“Butch was always around the playground, ” recalled Lloyd Mayes, a longtime friend and former standout at Cardozo High School and American University.  “I was about 16 and he was only 12. He would never play, but he always had on his Converse sneakers and carried a sports page with him.  He would talk about all sports and what was going on.  And he had the newspaper to back him up.”

McAdams would go on play at his alma mater, Mackin High School, in Northwest, at the time, one of the top high school basketball programs in the area. He then embarked on a journey as a basketball coach.  After a couple of years as an assistant, Butch took a position as a teacher and head boys basketball coach at Northwest D.C.’s Maret High School.  

There, McAdamns was able to take a team that featured strong academics and turn it into one of the top programs in the talent-laden DMV area. He produced Top 20 teams and a number of All-Met selections during his career that spanned over three decades.  Among his former players is Tony Dobbins, who recently won the NBA championship as an assistant with the Boston Celtics

Several of his players would go on to play at NCAA Division 1 schools like Virginia Tech, Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Travis Allen attended Maret and played under McAdams from 1989-1993, before attending Brown University.

“My experience under Coach McAdams was life-changing,” Allen told The Informer.  “There were some tough times when I first got to Maret.  But Coach helped me get through them with a well-placed hug or pat on the back. The lessons that we learned on and off the court under him have carried me through to my current career.”  

Allen is the managing director at Bernstein, a private wealth management company in D.C.

Michael Dade, a former teammate of Allen, shared his perspective on McAdams’ influence.

“It was Travis who first talked to me about attending Maret,” recalled Dade. “Once I got to be a part of the program, Coach McAdams helped me understand that sports and the basketball part of it were just a stepping stone to education and a career.”  

Dade went on to graduate from Boston University and he now owns his own detailing company in Florida.

After his successful run as a coach, McAdams decided to retire from Maret. However, rather than sit back and enjoy the benefits of retirement, McAdams decided to enter a new and unchartered territory, sports radio broadcasting.  

It was the year 2011 and after a trial run, McAdams reached an agreement to start, “,” a Radio One program that featured local sports guests and personalities from the DMV area.

McAdams learned the broadcasting business from legends such as Joe Madison, Harold Bell, Bernie McClain, Larry Hicks and most notably from Hughes.

Over the years, “In and Out of Sports,” featured notable sports personalities including high school, amateur, college and professional coaches and athletes.

“I love this city, and every Sunday I get up to do the show, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning,” McAdams once told The Informer, adding that no guest is too big or too small to be on the show. “My mission is to tell our story; the story of the DMV.”

A flashy dresser and ebullient personality, McAdams became a sought-after personality and served as master of ceremonies at a number of award banquets throughout the DMV. The celebrated coach turned broadcaster also received numerous honors, including induction into the DCSAA and Metropolitan Basketball Halls of Fame.

In 2013, McAdams was one of the 12 men who met weekly to create the infrastructure of , formed to acknowledge former athletes, coaches and community leaders. The organization hosts its annual cookout every third Sunday in July at Haines Point.

Cathy Hughes, the owner of WOL-AM’s parent company, Radio One, once said that McAdams had a critical role in a troubling time for African Americans.

“If you don’t know where you have been, you don’t know where you are going,” Hughes said of McAdams. “Butch helps us know where we have been so we can be proactive in where we are going.”

While he was known for a number of clever phases, one of his famous lines is quite fitting as many people locally and nationally remember the coach’s life. “Simply one of the best!”

Join the Conversation

28 Comments

    1. What a good-hearted, decent, friendly man he was. We’ll miss you, Butch. Rest in glory, dear brother.

  1. Truly, a positive young man. I have known Butch for over 50 years and I can say I have never heard him say a negative word about anyone. He was just an all-around good person. The DMV and the sports world will truly miss him.

  2. He was constant voice to the underserved, but the some of the most deserving in professional and amateur sports. He particularly made you proud to be from the DMV, as an athlete and as a resident. He made you feel like you mattered simply because of how much he cared about people. Coach McAdams never let you forget who the legends in this area were, all while being a torchbearing legend himself. May the ancestors like John Thompson and Marion Barry welcome him with a tight hug and a huge smile for this great man️

  3. Butch was kind hearted and smart. He used In & Out of sports to highlight and celebrate other people their accomplishments and discuss current topics. He was a historian of basketball in general and DMV basketball in particular. He will be missed for his personality and humor. RIP Butch.

  4. I had the honor to be a guest on with Coach McAdams. He could make you feel that you were the best interview/athlete he ever had on the show. He was/is The Best

  5. Coach Butch McAdams was a walking encyclopedia of DMV sports/history/cultural information. He leaves us a rich legacy. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  6. I knew him from 1st Friday’s at Takoma Station, he used to call me the little crazy one, he was a gentleman always made sure me and my quest in section 3 was happy.. he will surely be missed…

  7. Coach McAdams was so kind and supportive of me when I was in middle school. My mom died when I was in 4th grade, and he just had my back like very few other adults did during those next 4 years. Even as I drifted away from sports, he championed me. I still think of him often with gratitude.

  8. He meant Everything to me.
    One of those proud Maret Frogs, Coach took a chance on.
    Kenē GoGo Gorham

  9. I had a pleasure to work with Butch When he was at maret. We were both faculty members and I can say that I never saw him get upset or angry at anyone and he always had a smile on his face and an unbelievable positive drive that was infectious. I will miss him and our area has suffered a great loss, but he lives on through all the people that he has helped throughout his career. Rest in peace Butch…..

  10. For me, I know I will miss him alot. A truly good friend we had such a good time when ever we got together. RIP my brother.

  11. He was a coach while I was at the Maret School. Coach Butch McAdams was known for his kindness and easy going nature, while also helming several outstanding basketball teams at Maret and coaching several talented players who went on to do great things – as exemplified by Travis Allen and Tony Dobbins. RIP Butch.

  12. After moving to the DC area to take an assistant basketball coaching job at GW under Mike Jarvis I was fortunate to work with the other assistant coach, the great Eddie Myers. I needed to find a school and basketball program for my son, Todd. Eddie arranged for Todd and I to meet Butch McAdams. It was one of the greatest experiences in my son’s life. He got a great academic education and an even greater athletic experience all due to an exceptional coach and even more exceptional person in Butch. We always be indebted to this special man. We love you Butch and know you are resting in peace from a life well lived from all the people you treated so well.

  13. I didn’t actually play for Coach McAdams but I wish I had – if only I had an ounce of basketball talent!

    Regardless, in my time at Maret I got to know him almost as if I did and I appreciate that so much.

    It’s been over 20 years, but just a couple years ago we were on a Maret alumni zoom call and sharing stories like they were just yesterday. The world has just lost a great coach and person.

  14. Upon moving to the DC area to assume a job as an assistant basketball coach at GW under Mike Jarvis we needed to find a school and basketball program for my son, Todd. Fortunately the other assistant was the great, Eddie Myers who connected us with Butch McAdams at Maret. It was a stroke of genius on Eddie’s part putting Todd with Butch. Not only did he receive a great academic education but he experienced an even greater basketball and life experience with Butch. Todd went on to have a fine career at Maret and went to Eastern Michigan University on a full scholarship. All of that was due to Butch to whom we will be eternally grateful. He was an outstanding basketball coach and a truly exceptional person who changed my son’s and a lot of peoples sons lives for the better. Butch will rest in peace as he is so deserving for giving so much of himself to others. We love you Butch.

  15. My son, Todd, had the privilege of playing for Butch at Maret. Not only did he receive a great academic education there but also a great athletic experience from a very special person and coach. Rest in peace, Butch. You deserve it for all the lives you made better.

  16. I knew the Coach from his years as a co-host of the Larry Young Morning Show on WOLB Baltimore. He had incredible insights into the human condition and authentic empathy for people. He could deliver a blunt message with warmth and humor.

  17. OMG!! I just heard about Coach!!!My heart isTruly Broken. Much Love and Rest In Power from Atlanta via Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro and The University of Maryland.

  18. A man who always opened doors to the mind. Loved you Coach. I encountered you on the Larry Young Morning Show in Baltimore.. Also a pleasure talking with you n Larry. Will miss you, but being in the place of God’s grace, I know you’re safe. Peace n Blessings my friend.

  19. A gentle giant whom God is pleased with. He was an example of what humanity can be. Rest in peace McAdams. The Ford Family

  20. ‘The Larry Young Morning Show with The Coach’…was Thee Greatest, Most Informational, Radio Talk Show In Baltimore, Maryland for the last 25+years! I used to listen in 5days a week. LY and Coach was Thee Right Combination! The Coach Really made that Show A Blast! I don’t believe the Show would have as Successful as it was without The Coach.
    May Your Soul In Peace…

  21. Butch thankyou for reconnecting me with my childhood friends like Larry Watson and Lamar “Pookie” McCoy. Talking to you was like a ray of sunshine, my friend while I didn’t get to see you again on this side, I will see you on the other. Rest in Peace My Brother.

  22. I enjoy the Coach and Larry Young together on their talk show.. Such a great team!!! They both gave great information and cared about the public sooooo much. I loved the banter he and Larry had between them . He always spoke soooo lovingly about his Nephews!! Heartfelt condolences peace prayers sent for a great man in my opinion

  23. My brother Rob, called him Mr. MACKIN! He was an awesome representative of a Proud Legacy at 15th & V.
    I remember his winning smile a smooth style. Rest Easy Good Brother.

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