Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Feb. 8, 2023

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Peck steps down as football coach at Battle Ground

Tigers went 15-5 over the last two seasons

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter

Battle Ground football, which had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than 25 years, is looking for a new leader.

Larry Peck, the head coach since 2010, resigned this week.

“I wanted to build a class program, and I felt we did that,” he said.

Peck took over a team coming off of six consecutive losing seasons.

That first year was tough, with Battle Ground needing double-overtime to beat a small school for its only win.

Since then, though, the Tigers have gone from competitive to a state playoff team as well as those back-to-back winning seasons.

Battle Ground went 8-3 in 2015, tying for second in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League. The Tigers won the tiebreaker and then won the state qualifying round playoff — the first postseason win in program history. That team went to the state playoffs for the first time since 1979.

In 2016, the Tigers went 7-2 — their only losses coming to eventual state champion Camas and state semifinalist Skyview.

“He put together a great staff, let us have the freedom to coach, and led Battle Ground to some things nobody thought was possible,” said his son, Mike Peck, who was the offensive coordinator. “He deserves a ton of credit.”

Mike Peck, along with several assistant coaches, are also leaving, for various reasons.

Do not read more into that, though. Larry Peck said there is no controversy here. This is not a case of an ugly separation.

“Just a change. That is all,” Larry Peck said. “A change for me, and a change for the program.”

He said he initially decided 2016 would be his final season with Battle Ground last spring. But after the frustration of not going to the playoffs despite the 7-2 record, as well as the pain associated with an injury that had him on crutches for much of the season, he wanted extra time to consider his options.

Matt Stanfill, Battle Ground’s athletic director, has been impressed with the performance of the team and the coaching staff.

“I didn’t ask for his resignation,” Stanfill said. “It was very thoughtful. It was not a rash decision. I reluctantly accepted (the resignation). He’s leaving on good terms. A good man. He’s been a pleasure to work with.”

Peck had losing seasons those first two years on the job, giving the program eight in a row. But he leaves with a 15-5 record in his final two seasons.

“It’s a credit to him, what he’s built,” Stanfill said.

“Battle Ground’s done a tremendous job supporting me,” Peck said, adding that he is grateful that the school gave him this opportunity.

A search committee will be formed for a new coach.

“It’s a next page. It’s another chapter for us,” Stanfill said. “Supportive community. Good kids. We’re looking forward to see what’s out there.”

As far as Peck, this is a resignation, not a retirement.

“I don’t want to give the idea I’m done with coaching,” he said. “I’ve got another coaching gig in me.”

Columbian High School Sports Reporter