For the first time in a quarter century MTSU searches for a baseball coach

Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 10:15pm
Staff reports

Longtime Middle Tennessee State baseball Steve Peterson announced his retirement on Thursday.

Peterson, 60, is the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 791-637-3 record. He led the Blue Raiders to 11 Sun Belt Conference regular-season championships and reached the NCAA Tournament nine times during 25 years at the helm.

Jim McGuire, an assistant for the last 20 years, will serve as the interim head coach while athletics director Chris Massaro conducts a national search for a replacement.

“I love baseball, and hopefully I’ve taught players to love baseball,” Peterson said. “But it’s not about me. I’ve been a part of the improvement of the program. Was I the program? No, and I never tried to be. I was just an extension of it. I said this [before]: where there’s a will there’s a way. I tried to be the will. Everybody out there was the way.

“The players were the way. The people that donated money and people that came to the games were the way. I just had a will for 25 years to try to keep improving the program. And it’s going to keep improving.”

Since 1988, the Blue Raiders won 30 games or more 16 times. They set a school-record with 44 victories in 2009 — the last time they reached an NCAA Regional.

Under his tutelage, the program had 10 All-Americans and eight conference players of the year. Peterson, a three-time Sun Belt Coach of the Year, also had 60 former players sign professional contracts.

The Huntsville, Ala. native, started his coaching career as an assistant at MTSU from 1976-78 under John Stanford. He then spent six seasons as the head coach of Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tenn., before returning to serve Stanford at MTSU from 1985-87 before taking over the program.

Between the two stops, Peterson has a career head coaching record of 944-733-3.

“His personal impact on hundreds of student-athletes cannot be measured but can only be told in their success stories,” Massaro said. “Peterson has been a model coach who has won championships doing it the absolute right way.”