NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Plain and simple, Pete Adrian had been at it for a long, long time. After 10 years the head coach at Norfolk State, and 45 years overall in coaching, Adrian finally decided a few weeks ago it was time to retire from football .
“As soon as you win a game, you really don’t have time to enjoy it. You say ‘Got to win the next one. Got to win the next one. Got to win the next one,'” said Adrian in NSU’s football office on Wednesday, “There’s only so much of that you go through, then you say it’s time to move one. ”
In his last interview with WAVY Sports before he booked it down to Florida, Adrian couldn’t have seemed more at peace with the decision, reminiscing about every memory with the same slight smile he’s had on his face since first taking the job in 2005.
As with any coach who’s been on the sideline as long as he has, his family was also a big part of the decision. ” Your wife puts up with a lot of stuff over that time, and she’s really been supportive all the time,” said Adrian, “I’ve got two young sons; one’s 38 and the other’s 36. They’re right in the middle of their lives and you want to spend some time with them, and it’s just time to move on.”
And so he does.
While the Spartans’ have once again hit some hard times, Adrian was the one who rose the program out of one of its darkest times. The team had just two wins to show for both the 2003 and 2004 seasons before Adrian stepped in.
His teams won four games in 2005 and 2006, and then soared to a 9-3 record in 2007 and a 7-1 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The overall win tally was the program’s best in Division I, and it Adrian was named the MEAC Coach of the Year and the FCS National Coach of the Year.
He was the first in NSU history given the top coaching honor in the conference.
When asked what he’ll remember most during his tenure, the first thing that came to mind was 2011; when the Spartans won the MEAC regular season championship.
“I think we had to start at ground zero,” he said, “I think I remember the thing I said the very first day here that we wanted to be able to compete. We went from a team that was a sure win on someone’s schedule to now you better play your best game or your not going to beat us.”
He remembers that season the most, but what he’ll miss the most is the players and the relationship he held with many of them, which he admitted could get comical during practice.
“Heaven forbid if I ever found out who your girl friend was, and it was a two-way street, because I would let them joke with me a lot,” he said.
Now he’ll replace the green of the field with the greens on the golf course. He’ll also spend some time traveling and of course plans to take in some good football.
“I want to go see West Virginia play. The only time I got to see them was when I played them in 2011,” he said.
Maybe the best Adrian quote was why he never plans on using the term, “bucket list.”
“Bobby Bowden once told me, ‘There’s only one more big event when you retire, and we don’t want to see that yet,'” he said with one big chuckle.