“Obviously the NBA is the highest level in terms of playing and coaching,” Peck said. For a guy like me, who played Division II basketball (at Northwood University in Michigan), who didn’t have a dad who played in the league, to get in that in the circle, I jumped at the opportunity.”
The Stampede are owned by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and will run the same offense as their NBA affiliate, but this gives Peck the opportunity to rise a few levels and yet still be a head coach.
“It’s tailor-made for me,” Peck said. “I was an assistant for several years prior to becoming a head coach at Findlay. You start to develop your own philosophy. When you are in that seat, to have to go back again is very difficult. Not that I have a problem with the title of assistant coach, but sitting as an assistant 6 inches away from the top seat, you’re not making the last call.”
Findlay Prep finished 32-1 as the No. 2 team in the Super 25 rankings in 2011-12 and has consistently been an elite team since it began play five years ago. Peck was 157-8 there, including 65-0 at home. His 2009 Pilots finished as the top team in the Super 25.
The Pilots have produced three NBA first-round draft picks: Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics, Cory Joseph of the San Antonio Spurs and Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Peck’s longtime assistant, Todd Simon, a former assistant at UNLV, takes over the top job at Findlay Prep.
“Fortunately, some of the overtures that Mike has gotten over the years, there has been a succession plan in place,” Simon said. “I think we’re hitting the ground running. We had a 6 a.m.conditioning workout, a good session with the guys. Hopefully, we’ll have as seamless a transition as possible.”