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Cicciarelli calls it quits at Adams after years of success

November 14, 2012

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Adams cross country coach Budd Cicciarelli stands with runners, from left, Stephen Biebelhausen, Jamie Morrissey and Gabrielle Thiviergg following their All-State finish at the Michigan International Speedway.

ROCHESTER — He had planned it, or at least considered it, for years, even as those around him assured him he’d never be able to walk away.

Their skepticism of a pending retirement was understandable.

Budd Cicciarelli has been a fixture within the Rochester Adams coaching ranks for decades.

Whether he was on the track working with sprinters or the cross country course dissecting final times, when it came to running events outside, Cicciarelli was the Highlanders’ man.

“People said I’d never give it up,” he said last week with a laugh. “But it’s time. It’s time for some younger blood to take over.”

Following the 2012 cross country state finals, Cicciarelli officially stepped aside from a coaching career that began with the Adams track teams in 1972.

He guided the Highlanders’ track program until 2009 and was the cross country coach from 1981 until this fall.

“It was a great career,” he said simply. “I had so much support from the parents, the kids and the community. Everything involved with this job was awesome.”

A teacher at the school from 1971-2000, Cicciarelli said the daily interaction is what he’ll miss most.

“Just being around the coaches and the kids, and the parents,” he said. “That’s what’s going to be tough. There were so many good times doing this, but it’s time to move on.”

He does so with a more-than-impressive résumé to look back on, especially in cross country.

Including 2012, he took the girls team to the state finals 23 times in 32 years.

In a 17-year span, from 1992-2008, his girls team went to the finals every season and won the 2006 Division 1 state title.

This year’s squad placed 11th overall and saw Jamie Morrissey place third and Gabrielle Thiviergg place fifth in the final run to earn All-State recognition.

His boys teams made the state finals 14 teams during his career, including five straight trips from 2005-2009.

Stephen Biebelhausen took seventh at the 2012 final while representing Adams.

So why, at 67 and healthy, is Cicciarelli ready to step down?

“It’s the old cliché that every coach says, but I need to spend more time with family,” he explained. “We have grandkids in California we want to see more, and my wife and I have talked about traveling for a while, but that’s tough to do when you’re coaching.”

He exits without any regrets.

“I mean, you’d love to win a few more state titles, but who wouldn’t?” added Cicciarelli, a Lake Orion resident. “It’ll be tough at first, but I look forward to the next stage in my life. They have a great program and a great coach taking over (Eric Lohr), and for me, it’s time.”

“Besides,” he continued, “I need to perfect my golf game. That still needs some work.”

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