PREP FOOTBALL

New Chesterton football coach Peterson looking forward, not back

2013-08-05T17:00:00Z 2013-08-06T20:27:14Z New Chesterton football coach Peterson looking forward, not backJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
August 05, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

After three years at Portage, Mark Peterson's tenure quietly ended in February 2010 with a brief written statement, followed by vague comments from then-athletic director Jeff Smith about philosophical differences.

Over time, chatter trickled out that the program was riddled by poor conditioning and a lack of discipline, raising question to Peterson's credibility as a big-school coach.

As he conducted his first official practice Monday at Chesterton, his feelings about the past remain strong, though his sights are focused strictly on the future with no sense of urgency to prove his critics wrong.

"People are going to perceive what they want to perceive," Peterson said. "The petty stuff, unfortunately, is part of the business. People who know, know. Those who were really involved, who were aware of what was going on, they get it. They know the difference. As far as my overall feelings, I don't really (care). You move on. You try to be bigger."

A 17-year veteran of the college coaching ranks, Peterson spent three seasons at both Bishop Noll and Portage, reaching sectional finals in 2006 and 2009 while compiling a 35-29 record.

"I feel really positive about what I'm doing," he said. "In the end, it's about the kids, not me. All you can do is hope you do the right things by the kids. I still stay in touch with those guys. I was talking to Jake (Dixon) before he went back to Fordham. Clark (Mussman) and I text. Those relationships are the greatest reward."

While it didn't end well at Portage, Peterson benefited from his last three years as an assistant coach with John Snyder at Chesterton. The two are old friends, but Peterson didn't necessarily envision succeeding Snyder, whose resignation caught him by surprise. Peterson didn't apply for any head coaching openings until last winter, when the itch started to come back.

"The opportunity to work with John reinforced that I was doing the right things," Peterson said. "It gave me the chance to sit back and see things from another perspective. You see things similarly, yet differently, and see how it would fit your style. I'm excited, ready to go again."

How excited? Peterson didn't even get two hours of sleep before the Trojans hit the field at 6 Monday morning. Notable among his changes, he increased summer workouts to three days a week. He believes his cause is aided by a veteran coaching staff and the full support of both the athletic department and administration.

"It's a phenomenal situation to be in," he said. "I'm teaching here. My kids are in the district. Looking back, we did some really good stuff at Portage and Bishop Noll, and I hope to carry it over to this job. I'm following through on stuff from the last couple years and putting my spin on things. I feel rejuvenated."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which local prep soccer semistate qualifier will most likely reach state?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News