Mike Peck never envisioned he’d ever take a break from coaching high school football, but is ready to take a much-needed one now.
Prairie High School’s head football coach since 2018 is stepping down after four seasons, citing a physical and mental toll coaching has taken the past two years surrounding COVID-19.
He made the announcement Friday to his team.
“The hardest part is telling the kids,” said Peck, 34. “I’m going to take time away to physically get healthy and mentally get refreshed, so I can be the best coach I can be for when the next opportunity arises.”
Prairie is Peck’s first head-coaching job and by his second season, elevated the program to new heights. In 2019, the Falcons had one of their best seasons in school history by winning the 3A Greater St. Helens League title and reaching the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. An overtime loss to Marysville-Pilchuck, 37-30, ended a historic season at 9-2 overall.
It was Prairie’s best season since 1992.
Although the 2021 season completed in November at 6-4, Peck said he thoughtfully waived his decision.
“I wanted to take as much time as possible,” he said. “That energy hasn’t come back yet. And it’s not fair to anybody if I try to stick around and my heart isn’t 100 percent into it.”
Prairie is the fourth Clark County school to have a football head-coaching opening this off-season, joining Hudson’s Bay, Heritage, and most recently, Battle Ground. Also Friday, Mark Oliverio, Battle Ground’s head coach last fall, confirmed he’s the new football coach at 2A Hudson’s Bay. Oliverio previously coached at Bay in 2015 and 2016.