I got one of those texts last Thursday morning that you just don’t want to get. “Coach passed away last night.”
The rush of emotions are overwhelming. The questions begin. The memories come at a pace that your mind just can’t keep up with.
Steve Peterson was the long time head baseball coach at Middle Tennessee State University. He entered the National Association of Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in January of 2019. He was legit.
December 3, 2016 at Coach Peterson’s Hall of Fame induction celebration. The last time I saw Pete.
Somehow he chose to hire me in the spring of 1992 to be the Graduate Assistant/Pitching Coach. To this day I am amazed that I got the job. I was up against guys who pitched at LSU and Mississippi State. Why in the world did he hire this journeyman pitcher who finished his career at Pembroke State University?
In the fall of that first year Pete and I were on a recruiting trip together and I asked him that question. He said “It was the way you answered one particular question.”
Ok I’ll take the bait. “Which question?”
“I asked you ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?'”
I absolutely did not remember him asking me that question. In fact I didn’t remember the interview at all because I was so nervous.
“You answered the question with ‘I want to be sitting in your chair.’ Pete went on to say “That’s what made me decide to hire you.”
That was the first lesson Coach Peterson taught me about being a person, a man and a coach. Be yourself.
You always knew where you stood with Pete because he was himself. Pete was direct. He did not play games. He was authentic.
Steve Peterson was the real deal.