Adrian Luster

The Citadel

By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1996

Editor's Note: Citadel strength coach, Jim Peal, and I met at the NSCA Conference last June. He said he had an amazingly strong player by the name of Adrian Luster. Indeed he did, and so it is a pleasure to bring you his story. 

Coach Peal has been at the Citadel, a Division I-AA School, for nine years. In 1994, Coach Peal was voted the Strength and Fitness Coach of the Year by his peers in the Southern Conference. He has a B.S. degree from the University of Miami (Ohio) and Masters in Physical Education from Tennessee. Coach Peal has been an Assistant Strength Coach at Kansas State, Tennessee and a graduate Assistant Football Coach at the University of Evansville prior to his appointment at the Citadel. 

The Citadel has recently had some negative publicity. I have chosen, in this article, to focus on some of the many positives at the Citadel which includes Adrian Luster, a bright and shining star.  

Adrian Luster, born November 2, 1975, might very well be the strongest college football player in the nation. Coach Peal, Citadel Strength Coach, is very strict with his players and all lifts, especially the Squat, are done with competition standards. Adrian is 6'1 1/2", 295 lbs. and Benches 610, Inclines 525, Squats 765, Power Cleans from the floor 385 while running a 4.9 forty. His Vertical Jump is 32 inches. Perhaps his most astonishing feat is his ability to do 25 chins in a row. Adrian also maintains a solid 2.5 GPA with an accounting major and is a member of the gospel choir. Coach Peal states, "Adrian is a true student-athlete and a solid citizen. In the weight room he is an excellent worker and a motivation to his teammates. Above all, he is humble about his accomplishments." 

Adrian started lifting in the 7th grade on the back porch with his Uncle. He attended Laurens High School in South Carolina and as a freshman was only 5'7", 121 lbs. Then, he grew. And grew. Adrian, as a senior, was 6'1", 242 lbs. and could Bench 500, Incline 385, and Squat 585 lbs. 

Adrian lettered in football and track in both junior and senior years. Laurens High School won the Region 4-A State Football Championship in Adrian's junior year. He helped lead his team to an 11-1 season in his senior year and played in the North-South All-Star game. With his 3.8 GPA, Adrian had no trouble being admitted to the Citadel. 

The Citadel is a state-assisted, comprehensive, liberal arts college in a military environment. U.S. News and World Report ranked the Citadel as high as fourth in its category in the magazine's last nine surveys of "America's Best Colleges". The graduation rate of student-athletes is tops in the Southern Conference at 88 percent. 

The Citadel is located in Charleston, South Carolina which features an historical site in the downtown area called Marion Square. The square became an arsenal and garrison for ammunition and arms in 1822. The building, built in Spanish-Moorish style architecture became known as "the Citadel". In 1842, the South Carolina legislature established a college at the garrison.  

Today the campus includes 24 major buildings and almost every Friday afternoon 1900 Cadets march on the parade ground on Summeral Field. Their football stadium has seen 23 thousand attend a Southern Conference game. Cadets choose from 19 BA degree programs. In addition they are required to complete four years of ROTC instruction but are not required to accept commissions in the Armed Forces. About 30% of the general student body accept commissions while 10% of the football players accept. Developing leadership qualities is the mission of the Citadel. 

Adrian's father is an accountant in Maryland with the Department of Education. Adrian would like to get an internship with his father. "I would like to work in the accounting field and go straight into business," said Adrian. Those are his plans after finishing college and after pro football. I asked him if he wasn't too short to play at the pro level. Adrian looked me straight in the eye and then laughed, "No." 

Adrian redshirted in his first year and then lettered at defensive tackle during the next two years. This year, as a junior, he is an all-Southern Conference Candidate. The Southern Conference is entering into its 76th year and is composed of the following schools: Tennessee State, Furman, Georgia Southern, Marshall, UT-Chattanooga, Virginia Military Institute, Western Carolina and the Citadel. The expansion of three additional schools are planned soon. 

Adrian is on line to graduate in four years and then he will work on an MBA (Masters Program) during his fifth year of eligibility. 

To prepare for games, Adrian concentrates totally about crushing his opponent. "I sit quietly," said Adrian. "I visualize throwing my opponent into the backfield and running down the ball carrier. My attitude is that no one can stop me." The first game of the season was played against Miami in the Orange Bowl. Adrian said before the game, "Miami is like a regular team to me. I will not be intimidated." 

Adrian believes the key to lifting a big weight is technique. "I don't go crazy.  I visualize going through the lift. Our coaches stress being under control emotionally. They want us psyched but controlled. I like a challenge when people say that I can't do something, it makes me work harder to prove them wrong." 

The number one goal at the Citadel is to keep together and to work hard in practice. Coach Peal explained, "Our goals are centered around the process of work. If we work hard, then the end goals will take care of themselves." 

Adrian uses a lot of hard work to be successful and adds, "Don't let friends intervene in your goals. Never take a step backwards. Always go forward. Stay with the books. Do it academically first. Then do athletics if you want." 

The Citadel has a zero tolerance policy on drugs, and alcohol is not allowed on campus. Adrian confided, "The kids I hung around with in high school were non-drinkers so peer pressure was never a problem. In high school I never had a drink and never had anything to do with drugs. I believe you should be your own person." 

Adrian sees himself married with a couple of kids with a steady job in accounting as his future. He will try pro-football, and powerlifting after the Citadel but his family and family values will always remain the most important aspect of life. 

We thank Adrian and Coach Peal for sharing their story. They are true Upper Limit people.