Pete Adkins named Missouri Sports Legend
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Former Jefferson City High School football coach Pete Adkins is not short by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to accomplishments.
He won 405 games, owns a 71-game winning streak and captured nine state football championships during his 43 years as a head coach. He was even the subject of a Melissa Etheridge music video (which was shown during the ceremony) honoring his accomplishments. All of that only scratches the surface.
But when he learned he was going to be named a Missouri Sports Legend by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, he knew he had something he could put up there with all the other highlights in his career.
“It’s one of those things you don’t think about this ever happening,” Adkins said prior to Sunday’s ceremony at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. “It was a great surprise. I was just humbled they came up with this honor. High-school coaches, we go so far, and we figure that’s the end of it. And then something like this comes along.”
Adkins, who was the head coach at Centralia before coming to Jefferson City, won 354 of those games and all nine titles at Jefferson City before retiring following his final state title in the 1994 season. He was the Missouri Coach of the Year eight times and has been a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame since 1986. For 37 seasons, he was the face of Jefferson City football.
Now, a bust of one of the most successful high-school football coaches in the nation will sit alongside Norm Stewart, Stan Musial, George Brett and Len Dawson, among others, at the museum in Springfield.
It’s an honor Adkins is not taking lightly.
“I went down to Wentzville to the artist’s studio and saw (the statue) when it was in the clay form, and he wanted my wife and I to look at it, and see any changes she might want to make,” Adkins said. “It was really impressive. With what he had to work with, he did a hell of a job.”
The statue was unveiled during the ceremony and Adkins said his wife Lorraine added her special touch to it.
Adkins is still close to the football program today.
He said he still attends Jefferson City home games and travels to some road games, although not as many as he used to. He also likes to attend middle-school and freshman games whenever possible.
Adkins achieved a level of sustained success that will be tough to approach again at any level of any sport. But there is at least one person who wouldn’t mind if he got another shot at it.
Even at 88, Adkins said he’d always like another chance to see if he could replicate some of the success his teams had during his tenure.
“I know one thing, we’d all like to have a chance to do it over again,” Adkins said. “You can’t do it, but I’d like to find out again whether I could do it or not.
“I love coaching and the young men you work with, and so I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. If I could do it again, I would jump at the chance. They keep telling me that athletes have changed. I don’t know whether I could work them as hard and do what we did before or not, but I’d sure like to try it.”
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