CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Pete Adrian last coached a football game on the West Virginia campus, he was 21. It was Oct. 31, 1969, and Penn State won 9-7.
He was a WVU senior with two very bad knees and a really big passion.
Adrian is still living the dream today, and Saturday he will bring his seventh Norfolk State team to his old stomping grounds to face 19th-ranked WVU (1-0) in a stadium that's foreign to him, but on very familiar ground.
"No, I didn't think I'd be in coaching this long, but then if I weren't, I don't know what I'd be doing," Adrian said Monday from his office on the 7,000-student NSU campus. "It's my 43rd season. I still enjoy it, have fun ... although I don't know how much I'm going to enjoy Saturday."
Adrian's goal while a student-athlete at WVU was to get his degree, teach history and coach high school football. He came to WVU from river-hugging Brilliant, Ohio, and at 6 feet 1, 205 pounds, played linebacker, middle guard and on the offensive line.
"I started every game at inside linebacker on the (1966) freshman team," Adrian said, "and then in the Penn State game I tore up my left knee, lost everything in there, wiped out. It was supposed to be career-ending, but I came back and played nose guard and linebacker the next year.
"My junior year, I redshirted, then went to the offensive line. The week of the Cincinnati game (season opener in '69), my senior year, I hurt my knee again and they pulled me out. I never played again. I had hurt my right knee in '67, too, but there wasn't any surgery.
"But that's how I got into coaching. I was a senior, and Coach (Jim) Carlen knew I wanted to coach, so I started with the freshman team (as an assistant to Dale Evans). I was an offensive guard one day and a defensive line coach the next."
Those '69 varsity Mountaineers went 10-1 and won the Peach Bowl. Carlen left for Texas Tech. Bobby Bowden moved up from offensive coordinator, "and I could have stayed with Coach Bowden in 1970, but I went to Rhode Island as a graduate assistant," Adrian said.
"George Henshaw and I were in the same situation and he stayed. You're 21 and you don't know the different levels (of programs). At Rhode Island, I was going to be a grad assistant with the varsity; if I had stayed at West Virginia, I'd have been coaching the freshmen, so I went up there for my masters.
"It's been a long time, but I don't really think about (retiring). I just keep going. I stay in touch with Coach Carlen, and I still see Coach Bowden quite a bit. You ask me about continuing to coach. About a year ago, I saw Tommy (Bowden) and he asked me, 'You're not going to pull a 'Dad' on me, are you?' "
Adrian hasn't been back to Morgantown much since his 1970 graduation. He did come back several years ago for a springtime Fellowship of Christian Athletes dinner to honor Carlen.