Before Red Mountain coach Mike Peterson came to the Red Mountain program in 2011 he coached at Chandler.
Peterson began to reflect Friday night on taking the Mountain Lions to the semifinals in his first season as head coach where he’ll face the Wolves.
In doing so, he talked about how he ended up on then-coach Jim Ewan’s staff after a bit of controversy enveloped Mountain View’s program where he was an assistant under Bernie Busken.
Busken came under scrutiny for various reasons and administration was looking for answers.
“In May of 2002 they told us if you want to keep working here come back after lunch,” Peterson said. “If you don’t then don’t come back. I wanted to come back, but they wanted me to tattle on coach Busken and anything he did. We’re pretty loyal in this profession. I didn’t go back.
“That night coach Ewan called and said I hear you need a job. That Monday I was coaching spring ball at Chandler.”
Back then the Wolves were far from being one of the state’s top programs. Everyone looked at Chandler as underachieving and Hamilton’s play toy.
Now the Wolves send a ton of players to FBS power conferences, have more than a handful of alumni in the NFL and have won two of the last three state titles.
Peterson, who coached alongside current head coach Shaun Aguano, remembers the darker days well.
He was an assistant coach from 2002 to 2010 before coming to the Mountain Lions as the defensive coordinator.
“There were more assistant coaches than players at times,” Peterson said. “I remember being worried about heading into a game against North.
“I guess you could say the the program has changed a little bit since then.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.