Former athletic director looks back on athletics

Randy Adrian was inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame during March’s state basketball tournament. His biggest thrills over the past year, however, more likely include two trips to Philadelphia to watch Eagles wide receiver and Clovis native Hank Baskett play, and a vacation at the Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally.
The former Clovis High School coach and athletic director answered a few questions about his nomination and how athletics changed over the years.

Q: How did you find out about the nomination?
A: I received a call from Gary Tripp, the executive director of NMAA.
The basic qualifications are the years of service and the dedication and work done for the association and the kids in New Mexico. The nomination goes before a Hall of Fame Selection committee. They select about three every year.

Q: What’s your favorite memory of Clovis High?
A: Probably, as a student, winning a state championship in 1973 — we were 14-0. Then again in 2001, we coached a state championship team. I was fortunate enough to play on an undefeated team and coach an undefeated. (Adrian coached the offensive and defensive lines.)
There’s a lot of great players and coaches that have gone through Clovis High School, and just to go through this means a lot to me.

Q: How did athletics change in your years?
A: There are so many more opportunities for kids nowadays. Back when I was coaching, you didn’t have video games and stuff like that.
The big thing back then was to be a part of athletic programs, and that’s changed. You have a select few that it’s still important to, but the kids have changed.

Q: Does that weaken the talent pool, or make the dedicated athletes better?
A: I think it refines the ones who are committed. Those who are there are probably more dedicated kids nowadays.
I think the quality of the athlete has definitely improved. When I started, we didn’t have the weight programs and things like that. The kids have the chance to build their skills and bodies better than when I first started. Weightlifting back then consisted of lifting a bale of hay and throwing it on the back of a truck.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in transitioning to administration?
A: You go from being a peer to a boss and it changes. You go from one of the good guys to sometimes being one of the bad guys.
Coach (Eric) Roanhaus coached me when I was in high school. I coached with him, and now we’ve got a situation where I’m his boss. We had a friendship that goes way back. That’s the one thing we had to keep in mind.

Q: You retired pretty early. What was your motivation?
A: I felt like it was time to try something else. I got into this business of sporting goods and I really enjoy it. I’m still around the kids. I have the same contacts with coaches around the state. It’s a lot less stress and sure not as many hours put in. I’ve gone from a 60- to 80-hour work week to about a 40-hour work week, and it’s made a difference.

Q: How do you feel about the growth of the NMAA since you retired?
A: I think the current administration is doing a good job. The big thing they have at heart is what’s in the best interest for the kids. As long as they keep that as their No. 1 goal, they’re going to be successful.

Q: What’s something NMAA’s doing better now?
A: I was instrumental in helping football crews going from four- to five-man crews and basketball going from two- to three-man crews. Some people had some doubts, as to whether they could afford officials and whether they could have a better game.
There are things you can’t see working a two-man crew. There are things you miss because you can’t get in position to see. It’s also helped some officials stay in longer. Your veteran officials who have been in it … are able to help the younger officials who are coming in.

Q: You probably had offers to go elsewhere. What do you think would be your first priority if you had worked at a different school?
A: The big challenge is trying to build tradition. All of that starts with your feeder programs. One of the things I did when I was athletic director was try to make sure feeder programs were on the same pages as our high school programs. We had the same offenses and defenses and terminology at the seventh-grade level as at high school level.

Q: That looks good on paper, but isn’t it tough to hire people who are overqualified for junior high and junior varsity jobs?
A: It takes a special person to coach the lower levels, the ones who are willing to start from scratch. I was very, very fortunate when I went through Clovis Schools that we had Leon Kelly and George Boal and people like that who were excellent junior high coaches.
Now you have coaches who start and want to go straight to the top. When I first started coaching, you lined your own football field, you lined your own track, you cleaned the toilets, you swept the locker room, you did all of that kind of stuff. I have a great respect for what I learned, the hard work and things I had to do. A lot of young coaches are not getting that benefit.

Adrian fast facts

Born: Sept. 13, 1955, in Amarillo.
Current occupation: Team sporting goods sales, former educator and administrator.
Occupations held at Clovis: Teacher, coach (football, basketball, baseball), assistant principal at Yucca Junior High, athletic director at Clovis High School for 13 years.
Education: Clovis High School, 1974; Eastern New Mexico University for bachelor’s (1978) and master’s in
education administration (1984).
Family: Wife, Tonya, of 32 years; two daughters, Keri and Kendra, and two grandchildren, Cole and Zarryn.
Hobbies: Riding his Harley-Davidson and playing golf. His best round is a 69.
Favorite TV shows: “It’s
embarrassing, but ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Boston Legal’ are probably my two favorite TV shows.”

— Based on an interview with CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson and edited for style, clarity and space.