Mark Peterson didn’t waste any time assuming the duties of a head coach,
even if it’s not official just yet.
Peterson will be recommended to replace former coach John Snyder at the June
24 School Board Meeting.
“The Athletic Administration at Chesterton will be recommending Mark
Peterson for the head football coaching job at the next board meeting,”
Chesterton Athletic Director Garry Nallenweg said. “Mark stood out as
someone who is part of our program and has been a head coach in the past at
Portage and Bishop Noll. He’s familiar with the Duneland Athletic Conference
and knows what it takes to be successful.”
Peterson has been a member of the Chesterton staff for the past three
seasons after a three-year stint as head coach at Portage where he complied
a 17-15 record (2007-2009). He was also head coach at Bishop Noll to the
tune of 18-15 (2004-2006).
“I’m very excited,” Peterson said. “To have an opportunity to take over a
program like Chesterton, I’m ecstatic for the chance.”
Peterson replaces Snyder, a long-time friend.
“A chance to step back into the head coaching role and follow a dear friend
like John is very important to me,” Peterson said. “John is a lifelong
friend and to have coached with him for three years and now to try to keep
going what he did is exciting and re-energizing.”
Peterson took steps toward the head coaching job in the last two weeks, even
though the official decision wasn’t made until recently.
“When John stepped down, the kids needed to still be in the weight room and
get the equipment handed out,” Peterson said. “I’ve been through that
before, so assuming that responsibility along with the other coaches was the
right thing to do.”
And that staff should stay in place, although a few additions may happen.
“This will be the 4th season with the staff,” Peterson said. “I’m so happy
they are staying around. That helps make the transition that much easier for
the kids and this is a group of kids that has seen a lot of success the last
Peterson’s familiarity with the Duneland Athletic Conference also helped.
“I think it’s huge,” Peterson said. “I’ve had an opportunity to be familiar
with the other programs we are going to play. The past experiences will be
beneficial come game nights and preparing for them. Having been in the
program and coached against everyone already certainly helped open some
Peterson began his coaching career in Northwest Indiana as a member of the
Valparaiso University staff from 1991-2004.
“This is one of the few jobs I’ve applied for in this area since I left
Portage,” Peterson said. “I’ve grown to understand that being able to
evaluate what you do on offense and defense is dependent on what kids you
have. You have to adapt your schemes to what you have.”
That means fans may, or may not, see the same up-tempo offense with placards
being flashed on the sidelines like last year.
“We’ll do some of the same stuff we’ve been doing offensively and
defensively the last few years,” Peterson said. “I feel good about these
kids and we’ll see how things work.”
Peterson served as offensive coordinator at Bishop Noll and Portage, along
with head coaching duties. He’s not sure if he’ll fulfill both roles at
“We’ll sit down over the next couple of days as a staff and talk about
play-calling and all the things that go along with being on the sidelines,”
Peterson said. “I’ll be involved in play-calling as I was at the other
schools. I don’t know if I’ll be offensive coordinator, but I’ll be heavily
involved in it.”
With just about eight weeks until the opener, Peterson did look ahead to
opening night against South Bend St. Joe.
“The day I don’t have butterflies and that feeling in the pit of my stomach
is the day I quit,” Peterson said. “I’ll probably be more excited and
anxious than nervous though.”