Lee Adams was so soft spoken as a premier track and field athlete, that sometimes his accomplishments, and there are many, went unnoticed. Adams was a football standout in his prep days at South High, but it was on the track where he set his mark.
In his two years at Bakersfield College, Adams began to set his mark as a world-class hurdler.
Competing in the 120-yard high hurdles, the 330-yard individual medley and as the leadoff for the 440 and 880-yard relays, Adams helped set a national record for the Renegades. In 1965 at the West Coast Relays, Adams ran leadoff in the 440 relay that equaled the national record in a time of 41.1 seconds. That same relay team won the Metropolitan Conference title in 41.7. Adams also set the meet record that day, tying East Los Angeles Community College’s Ron Copelan (a former All-American at UCLA) in the 330-yard intermediate hurdles in the time of 38.3. The following year, Adams served as co-captain in the BC track and field team. He was the conference champion in the 120-yard high hurdles in 14.5 seconds, the 330-yard intermediate hurdles in 38.3 seconds and once again was the lead runner in both the 440 and 880 relays. Before departing BC, Adams won the 1966 West Coast Relays in the 120 high hurdles and helped break the national junior college record for BC as the leadoff in the 880-relay in a time of 1 minute, 24.7 seconds.
Adams was highly recruited out of BC and ran for the University of Kansas where he really made his mark as a hurdler.
Adams set an American and world indoor record in 1967 in the 60-yard low hurdles in a remarkable time of 6.6 seconds. That Jayhawks team won the Big 8 championship in 1967 and 1968 with Adams on roster. He was also the runner-up in the Big 8 championships in the 120-yard high hurdles both seasons at Kansas. Also in 1968, the Kansas shuttle hurdles team, with Adams, set the Big 8 relay record. All four members of that relay were inducted into the University of Kansas Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Adams then returned back to Bakersfield where he as the track and field coach at Foothill High School and became the Director of Education Opportunity Program for Cal State Bakersfield and was very involved with the CSUB track and field program.
Adams passed away on January 6, 2000. The next year, the The Roadrunner Invitational was dedicated to him and renamed The Lee Adams Invitational.