The head football coach is new, but much will remain the same at Chesterton, as Mark Peterson strives for continuity in the transition.
"Without tipping our hand too much, there probably won't be any real significant changes," said Peterson, who will be formally hired June 24. "The vision has been set. We're headed in the right direction and we want to continue to build the program, to keep our feet moving forward, and to take the next step. I'm certainly excited about the opportunity, with the kids and staff we have. It's going to be a group effort."
Peterson has spent the last three seasons as a Chesterton assistant for John Snyder. The school didn't have a great deal of time or flexibility for the hiring, so the inside choice of someone with head coaching experience was reassuring to the players.
"The program's in a great place and he wants to keep it that way," quarterback Cole Teal said. "Coach Peterson said he doesn't want it to be a rebuilding year. He wants to pick up where we left off, jump right back into it, which is exactly what we want."
Stability will be a theme. With a few exceptions, the coaching staff will remain largely intact as well. The offense Peterson ran at Portage was similar if not identical to Snyder's scheme.
"I've learned the offense so well, I'm ready to take it up," Teal said. "If someone else had come in, I wouldn't know the situation. I wouldn't have had the same understanding."
Chesterton loses some big offensive weapons and all but one starter on defense, but Peterson is optimistic about new players stepping into those roles. A productive weight training session has also buoyed his enthusiasm.
"From a coaching standpoint, there are really a ton of things to build on," Peterson said. "The kids have done a great job in off-season, getting stronger. We want to hit the ground running."
Peterson spent three seasons as a head coach at Bishop Noll and three more at Portage before joining Chesterton's staff.
"I've been able to build relationships with kids and get a great insight to what's going on," he said. "All of that, combined with my previous experiences, makes me even more prepared. Talking to Hoffy (Mark Hoffman), Jeff Yelton, Leroy (Marsh), you're always learning, always adapting. I'm definitely ready to get back into it."
Most of all, Teal's happy to have the process completed.
"We needed the leadership figure, someone to look up to," he said. "Before (Peterson) was hired, the assistants kept saying, this is our senior year, we don't have another year. It's our obligation, our responsibility, to do everything we can to make it our best year."