ANNAPOLIS, MD. -- When Andre Deladrier strolls through the Naval Academy's Macdonough Hall, the memories, aches and pains of nearly 42 years of coaching come rushing back. The academy has been Deladrier's second home since his father Clovis brought the family to this country from Belgium in 1926. The elder Deladrier coached the Navy fencing team from 1933 until his death in 1947. His son joined the program as an assistant the following year, becoming head coach in 1958. It is a position the 68-year-old Deladrier, with admittedly mixed emotions, will surrender at the end of this season on the heels of what is already one of his team's best years in recent memory, including a record 6-0 start. "I've been around here, in this building, for a long time now," Deladrier said recently as he walked toward his office on the lower level of Macdonough Hall. "I'm wearing out. My arm's wearing out, my back's wearing out. But it's going to be very difficult for me to leave." Difficult emotionally, but physically necessary. "I've been hit three times in the back. I've had two severe operations due to fencing. When that steel whips over and cracks one of your vertebra, you're in trouble." Deladrier is quick to add, however, that he does not consider fencing a dangerous sport. "It's only dangerous to the coach, I imagine," he said with a laugh. Deladrier started this season with a 179-90 career record in the men's circuit. He also has guided the women's program to an 84-42-1 mark through its first 12 years. Under his leadership, the academy has produced two National Collegiate Athletic Association team championships, six NCAA individual titles and 19 All-Americas. The coach's accomplishments and longevity are admired by younger fencing coaches such as the Air Force Academy's Capt. Wendell Kubik. "I know Deladrier was very active during his eight years on the NCAA rules committee 1969-1976 and very instrumental in the development of fencing as a collegiate sport. Those were some very formative years," said Kubik, now in his fourth season as coach. "I've been fencing against Navy for several years now, and we've always had a lot of respect for their program. Good recruits and good coaching. No one knows collegiate fencing better than Deladrier," he said. And no one better understands the challenge of succeeding at Navy, as a coach or as an athlete. "This is a hard place to coach, probably the hardest in the United States," Deladrier said. "Once you get used to it and know the philosophy and know what the academy wants, it becomes easier. But it's a hard place to coach and a hard place to be an athlete. "I'm surprised when a midshipman wins a championship. I think, 'How can he do it?' He's carrying 21-22 hours, he's an engineer, he's got military obligations, he can't get out when he wants to get out. Yet he finds time to be such a good athlete. It's a miracle to me." Following in the footsteps of his father, a 1926 international champion in foil and epee who compiled a 100-13 record at Navy, was no easy task for Deladrier. He first picked up a sword at the age of 7 and started accompanying his father to the academy and practice with the midshipmen. Eight years later, he was a state champion. Deladrier attended St. John's University, where he met his wife Elizabeth. While at the New York school, he became the only U.S. fencer to be named All-America in all three weapons -- foil, sabre and epee -- in one season. Like his father four years earlier, Deladrier was inducted into the Helms Fencing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles in 1967. In 1960, he coached the United States fencing team at the Rome Olympics. "That was one of the greatest adventures that you can ever have," he said. "I guess {during} the parade of nations was when it struck me just what I was doing there. We walked through the streets of Rome, seven or eight miles, and went into the big stadium, where there were 80,000 to 90,000 people. A fencer's not used to a stadium. So when I went in there, it struck me. It was fantastic." Deladrier would like to see his son Richard, who has been his assistant for five years, inherit the head coaching position. Richard Deladrier, 40, was a two-time All-American in epee at Notre Dame University. "Fencing has been in my family all these years. And I hope my son will be able to carry the ball," the coach said. "He's done very well so far. He's got a lot to learn, but then again, when I came here, I had a lot to learn."