Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 | 5:40 p.m.
Michael Peck is leaving Findlay Prep high school basketball powerhouse for the head coaching position with the Idaho Stampede, the Portland Trail Blazers’ NBDL team, it was announced Tuesday by the professional team.
“This is a great opportunity with a wonderful organization,” Peck said in the team’s statement. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead of me.”
In March, Peck led the Pilots to their third national title in four years with a thrilling overtime victory in Bethesda, Md. Peck has been the coach for the past five seasons, accumulating a 157-8 overall record and a perfect 65-0 record at home.
The coaching staff held a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the players to personally tell them about Peck's departure and announce associate head coach Todd Simon's promotion to the top job.
"He cares about the players deeply and wanted to make sure they heard things from him first," Simon told the Sun. "I think everyone's pretty happy for him."
Simon said his initial reaction was that all 12 players currently on the roster would honor their decision and stay in Henderson.
"This group’s been familiar with our whole staff. They’re a very tight-knit group that we have this year," Simon said. "If anything I think it will bring them together to prove this is more than any one person."
Because Peck has had some opportunities to leave before, a succession plan for Simon has been in place for a couple of years. Many of the decisions over the past few years have had both men's fingerprints on them, Simon said, so the philosophy, starting with the Pilots' work ethic, won't be any different.
"Those things don’t change," Simon said. "I believe in much the same stuff. ... We’re going to be back on the field tomorrow at 6 a.m. That's just the way it is."
Peck started in Las Vegas as a video coordinator at UNLV from 2003-06, working under former coaches Lon Kruger and the late Charlie Spoonhour. Before that he played four years at Northwood University (1988-93) and after getting his master's degree Peck was an assistant at Saginaw Valley State (1998-2003).
“Michael Peck will be a great fit for the Stampede and the Trail Blazers,” Portland assistant general manager Bill Branch said in a statement. “He brings a work ethic and experience that will benefit the Stampede and the continued development of our players.”
The Sun reached Peck by phone Tuesday afternoon and he denied a report about his imminent departure. He didn’t immediately return a call placed after the announcement.
Simon worked with Peck on Kruger’s staff with the Rebels and earned his master’s degree at UNLV in 2010.