Peterson returns to Appy State

Buzz Peterson’s reunion with Appalachian State was consummated Wednesday after a month of negotiation.

Peterson reboots his coaching career after a two-year hiatus, being named head basketball coach at the school he led to three Southern Conference regular-season titles and the 2000 NCAA tournament.

“Some people don’t go back,’’ Peterson said in a teleconference, “but for me I felt like it was the right time.

“For me the urge to coach again and (re-)start my career where it began was so attractive.’’

Primarily because of his success at the Boone, N.C., school from 1996-2000, Peterson was hired by Tennessee in 2001. He was fired in 2005 with a 61-59 record.

Appalachian State offered Peterson the job in early April, but a week later he turned it down to stay as director of player personnel for the NBA Charlotte Bobcats.

Appy State interviewed several other candidates, including Ed Conroy, Peterson’s former assistant at UT who had an outstanding season at The Citadel.

However, Peterson remained the top target, according to several reports, and changed his mind when the school made another, presumably sweeter, offer.

“I guess the bottom line really to everything,’’ Peterson said, “is that the opportunity to work on a day-to-day basis with a student-athlete is something I really want to be a part of.’’

Peterson had a .669 winning percentage (79-39) during his four years at Appy State.

He left for Tulsa in 2000-01, went 26-11 and won the NIT, then jumped to Tennessee, calling it a dream job, when the Vols fired Jerry Green.

Peterson’s tenure at Tennessee produced two NIT bids but no NCAA tournaments. His best record was 17-12 in 2002-03. He was fired after his 2004-05 team finished 14-17.

His successor, Bruce Pearl, achieved immediate success with the players Peterson left behind, including C.J. Watson, Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith, Dane Bradshaw and Major Wingate. Pearl’s first team went 22-8, 12-4 in the SEC.

After UT, Peterson coached two seasons at Coastal Carolina with a 35-25 mark. He left coaching to become director of player personnel for the Bobcats at the invitation of his old North Carolina college roommate Michael Jordan.

Peterson is 201-134 in 11 seasons as a head coach.

Peterson replaces Houston Fancher at Appy State. Fancher took over the program in 2000 when Peterson left for Tulsa.

“This is the place where I want to make a difference and a lasting impression,’’ Peterson said.

“I’m looking for somewhere I can go and coach 12-15 years. ... This is somewhere I would love to finish my career and walk away.’’

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 51

DRW writes:

Good luck Buzz. Better for you to return to Appy State then Tennessee.

weisgarber2003#313889 writes:

Buzz is not quite ready for prime time, nor will he every be as a major level head coach. He had the right position pushing papers and he should have stayed there. A good old boy, but not a coach.

eb502us#225637 writes:

My Condolences to Appalachian State. You got yourself the sorriest excuse of a man I know, not to mention he couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag.

jasonn1970 writes:

Looks like Buzz is back in the Southern Conference - more at his ability level than the SEC.

TommyJack writes:

Never understood the angst. He didn't work out for us. No need to bash him. Let the fake gators make the cheesy remarks.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really? That's funny. I see UT more and more in primetime. Now with the SEC and ESPN television deal, you will see BIG ORANGE BASKETBALL for years to come during Primetime. You had better keep winning national championships in men's b-ball, lord knows that is the only sport your sorry athletic department has. My guess, without the television contracts in the ACC, your b-ball program will become as hard to find as your baseball, football, etc, etc, etc.

allvol9 writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

My Condolences to Appalachian State. You got yourself the sorriest excuse of a man I know, not to mention he couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag.

And with your comments bashing a quality man...this makes you what? I will not even bother to answer that. Your quote speaks volumns. Buzz did not work out for UT but he is a class act. Good luck to him at Appy.

TommyJack writes:

in response to allvol9:

And with your comments bashing a quality man...this makes you what? I will not even bother to answer that. Your quote speaks volumns. Buzz did not work out for UT but he is a class act. Good luck to him at Appy.

Sadly, we have a few mopes on here that would make great gators.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Lotta hate on here...sounds like a middle school homeroom class...'cept they ain't a lot of class going on.

I liked Buzz. He really, just like others, never really got much chance to show what he could do...some at UT will never ever like any coach we have. I think maybe putting the coaches down makes some of you feel better about your sorry lives. Or maybe we never ever had a good coach at UT.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

My Condolences to Appalachian State. You got yourself the sorriest excuse of a man I know, not to mention he couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag.

Dude - why so harsh? Perhaps he didn't bode well for TN, but to say he's the "sorriest excuse of a man I know" is quite damning.

Show a little more tact.

eb502us#225637 writes:

in response to no_excuses:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So because you met him, and your son attended his camps, he's one of the finest Christian men you ever gotten to know?

Do you remember anything from his days at UT or know anything about his past? Ask yourself.......

Do fine Christian men throw other men under the bus to save their own behind?

Do fine Christian men repeatedly blame others (including college kids) for their own shortcomings?

I stand by the my statement that Buzz is one sorry excuse of a man.

I don't need anyone telling me what a great guy and friend he is, when I've seen, heard, and witnessed the the opposite with my own eyes and ears.

As I stated, this has nothing to do with his coaching skills, but rather his character or lack thereof.

no_excuses, perhaps you could teach Buzz the meaning of your screen name the next time you see or speak with him, as he most certainly doesn't understand its meaning.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

So because you met him, and your son attended his camps, he's one of the finest Christian men you ever gotten to know?

Do you remember anything from his days at UT or know anything about his past? Ask yourself.......

Do fine Christian men throw other men under the bus to save their own behind?

Do fine Christian men repeatedly blame others (including college kids) for their own shortcomings?

I stand by the my statement that Buzz is one sorry excuse of a man.

I don't need anyone telling me what a great guy and friend he is, when I've seen, heard, and witnessed the the opposite with my own eyes and ears.

As I stated, this has nothing to do with his coaching skills, but rather his character or lack thereof.

no_excuses, perhaps you could teach Buzz the meaning of your screen name the next time you see or speak with him, as he most certainly doesn't understand its meaning.

The only person I see getting thrown under a bus right now is Buzz and you're the one doing it.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CBP finished ahead of Kentucky for the 4th straight time, which is something no other SEC team has accomplished in history.

He did that with only 1 true PG, who was new to his system. He couldn't run his traditional press, so he adjusted the team philosophy based on personnel and they were able to win their 3rd division championship in 4 years.

Now, what were you saying?

ashnoca writes:

"We will never know. He has never coached at a primetime school."

"Really? That's funny. I see UT more and more in primetime. Now with the SEC and ESPN television deal, you will see BIG ORANGE BASKETBALL for years to come during Primetime. You had better keep winning national championships in men's b-ball, lord knows that is the only sport your sorry athletic department has. My guess, without the television contracts in the ACC, your b-ball program will become as hard to find as your baseball, football, etc, etc, etc."

Don't agree with both of these comments. Tennessee is a upper tier program now. Especially since the ESPN Contract to help out. But if North Carolina has a "sorry athletic department," what are we? Besides Stanford, Carolina has been near the top of the directors cup for all sports since 1993. Tennessee has not once cracked the top five in all categories. We all need to remeber to take off our orange tinted glassed to realize there is more than us Vols out there. As for Buzz, lay off. He was a good man who didn't work out. Water under the bridge now and we turned out fine.

Volunatic writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Really? That's funny. I see UT more and more in primetime. Now with the SEC and ESPN television deal, you will see BIG ORANGE BASKETBALL for years to come during Primetime. You had better keep winning national championships in men's b-ball, lord knows that is the only sport your sorry athletic department has. My guess, without the television contracts in the ACC, your b-ball program will become as hard to find as your baseball, football, etc, etc, etc.

He hasn't been a Tarheels fan long enough to enjoy any National Championships. He was a Tiger High fan at the beginning of march.

Volunatic writes:

I'm happy for him-- I think he's a good person, and has proven that he can a small school pretty well.
I'm glad he's no longer UT's coach, though. I got tired of hearing the term "snake bit" as an excuse for coughing up a huge lead in the waning moments of a lot of games.
Jerry Green was a much better coach for UT.

ncvol17 writes:

TAR HEELS RULE cannot be a real UNC-CH fan. Traditional winners like the Heels have no reason to get on any blog (except maybe DUKE) and express a negative comment. Winners don't talk trash outside their conference. This guy has to be a Jiffy Lube Gator trying to disguise. Nice try gator..

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

My Condolences to Appalachian State. You got yourself the sorriest excuse of a man I know, not to mention he couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag.

"(T)he sorriest excuse for a man." Really? Counting all the men you know of, Buzz is the absolute "sorriest"? I'm not buying it!

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't take care of the children he produced.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't work to provide for his family.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" beats his wife.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" lies, cheats and steals in his business.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't send his mom a Mother's Day card, boos Santa Claus, kicks dogs, takes mulligans, and steals candy from babies.

Everyone makes mistakes but to brand Buzz the "sorriest excuse for a man" is too much.

Colliervol writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Lotta hate on here...sounds like a middle school homeroom class...'cept they ain't a lot of class going on.

I liked Buzz. He really, just like others, never really got much chance to show what he could do...some at UT will never ever like any coach we have. I think maybe putting the coaches down makes some of you feel better about your sorry lives. Or maybe we never ever had a good coach at UT.

Middle school homeroom? Good analogy. That's why the 10 year old Tar Heel fan feels so at home.

But Buzz "never really got much chance to show what he could do"? Really? I thought he had a number of years to show something and I don't recall even a glimmer of hope when he was here. I do recall a TON of embarrassing losses though.

Colliervol writes:

in response to NeylandWest:

CBP finished ahead of Kentucky for the 4th straight time, which is something no other SEC team has accomplished in history.

He did that with only 1 true PG, who was new to his system. He couldn't run his traditional press, so he adjusted the team philosophy based on personnel and they were able to win their 3rd division championship in 4 years.

Now, what were you saying?

Neyland, as Jack Nicholson said in that movie: Some people just "can't handle the truth". Anybody that doesn't understand what you just said simply has their own agenda and shouldn't even bother speaking.

newtonrail writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

So because you met him, and your son attended his camps, he's one of the finest Christian men you ever gotten to know?

Do you remember anything from his days at UT or know anything about his past? Ask yourself.......

Do fine Christian men throw other men under the bus to save their own behind?

Do fine Christian men repeatedly blame others (including college kids) for their own shortcomings?

I stand by the my statement that Buzz is one sorry excuse of a man.

I don't need anyone telling me what a great guy and friend he is, when I've seen, heard, and witnessed the the opposite with my own eyes and ears.

As I stated, this has nothing to do with his coaching skills, but rather his character or lack thereof.

no_excuses, perhaps you could teach Buzz the meaning of your screen name the next time you see or speak with him, as he most certainly doesn't understand its meaning.

For those of us on this board long enough, you can't win an argument with EB on Buzz. EB's from Louisville and lives in Florida, and has formed his opinion of Buzz from Media outlets. I don't know why he hates Buzz and David Cutcliffe so badly, but he does. I took the Buzz side in the firing discussion, and later admitted I was wrong in the interest of full disclosure. It's just easier to let EB rant about Buzz, just like I ignore the Gatorites.

AppStVol writes:

Im am pleased with the hire of Buzz. He is a very classy guy and should make a splash in recruiting. Although I would love to see our B-Ball team improve, we are a football school first and basketball second so as long as he can be competitive in the SOCon everyone here will be happy. By the way lets clear the air on this Appy St. BS. I would hope that Strange wouldn't be a big enough idiot to call us "APPY ST." Nobody calls us that its either Appalachian State or App State none of this Appy poop. Come on Strange.

NCVols writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Really? That's funny. I see UT more and more in primetime. Now with the SEC and ESPN television deal, you will see BIG ORANGE BASKETBALL for years to come during Primetime. You had better keep winning national championships in men's b-ball, lord knows that is the only sport your sorry athletic department has. My guess, without the television contracts in the ACC, your b-ball program will become as hard to find as your baseball, football, etc, etc, etc.

Well I agree that UT is becoming a primetime basketball school... but learn some things before you say them... UNC has been in the college world series the last 3 years in baseball so they are clearly not hard to find.

Also like AppStateVol said, for the love of everything holy stop calling it Appy State... NO ONE who knows anything about the school calls it that.

Also for those of you bashing Buzz look at the record he had while at App and you will see he can be successful. He was not here at UT and we are MUCH better off with CBP but Buzz was very successful at ASU

NeylandWest writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I refuse to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

txvolsfan writes:

I always thought Buzz was a class coach and a great person!!!
I would just like to read one article where he is not
remembered as MJ's roomate!!!

oldvolsfan writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

there you go again talking when you should be listing to dumb to know the difference

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Never understood the angst. He didn't work out for us. No need to bash him. Let the fake gators make the cheesy remarks.

Nice post TommyJack.

So he didn't work out for the Vols, it doesn't reflect on his character. Some coaches do better as an underdog rather than as the favorite. Buzz might be that type of coach. Anyway, he's a class act regardless of his coaching record.

Remember, if not for Buzz and Jerry Green and Kevin O'Neal and Wade Houston, Bruce Pearl would not be at Tennessee raising expectations for men's basketball.

As always, Go Big Orange!

CrankE writes:

Maybe Buzz could have negotiated a raise out of Cal's departure for UK. Bruce and Buzz have one more thing in common. Neither got a call from Memphis. The difference is that UT paid Bruce more money to stay and paid Buzz to leave. Thank you KNS for the never-ending Buzz Peterson stories. Are we done with him yet?

Isn't it about time for another "Johnny Majors is still bitter" story? @@

oldorange writes:

Buzz, you left a helluva group of athletes at UT for the next guy........Good luck

BigOrangeCrazy writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

"(T)he sorriest excuse for a man." Really? Counting all the men you know of, Buzz is the absolute "sorriest"? I'm not buying it!

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't take care of the children he produced.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't work to provide for his family.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" beats his wife.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" lies, cheats and steals in his business.

The "sorriest excuse for a man" doesn't send his mom a Mother's Day card, boos Santa Claus, kicks dogs, takes mulligans, and steals candy from babies.

Everyone makes mistakes but to brand Buzz the "sorriest excuse for a man" is too much.

I was passing your test and starting to feel good about myself until I read the "takes mulligans" part.
Whats wrong with taking a few mulligans? He11 I took 3 today at River Islands and I don't feel like the "sorriest excuse for a man."
Now, the sorriest excuse for a golfer? You might have me there. Lol

pammyvol1000 writes:

It's a beautiful college in the mountain setting.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why do you even care?You are a TarHeels fan.

cobbwebb writes:

buzz ball is back!

imnochumpvol writes:

in response to BigOrangeCrazy:

I was passing your test and starting to feel good about myself until I read the "takes mulligans" part.
Whats wrong with taking a few mulligans? He11 I took 3 today at River Islands and I don't feel like the "sorriest excuse for a man."
Now, the sorriest excuse for a golfer? You might have me there. Lol

If a mulligan is when you hit a bad shot in golf then you hit another one in its place then i'm guilty.d-mn i'm a sorry man. lol

BillVol writes:

Good luck to Buzz. I hope all works out for him in Boone. He is a fine person. I can't think of anybody who could say a bad word about him except for the guy above.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Sadly, we have a few mopes on here that would make great gators.

Not policing ya but that sentence ends in an oxymoron.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to imnochumpvol:

If a mulligan is when you hit a bad shot in golf then you hit another one in its place then i'm guilty.d-mn i'm a sorry man. lol

I think it's ok as long as you dont spill your beer.

tennhick writes:

Buzz is replacing a class act at Happy Appy. The coach used to be Houston Fancher, a fine person from Cocke County. When I went to Happy Appy the basketball coach was Press Maravich. I tired out for the team (5'9"") just so I could see the coach. I got "cut" by Press Maravich!
It used to be called Happy Appy because there were 7 girls to every guy. Great odds.

reachkim00 writes:

I like CBP but I think Buzz deserved another year here with his recruits. But that's water under the bridge so good luck at Appy State. He's a classy guy and I'm sure he will do well.

jasonn1970 writes:

in response to reachkim00:

I like CBP but I think Buzz deserved another year here with his recruits. But that's water under the bridge so good luck at Appy State. He's a classy guy and I'm sure he will do well.

I'm assuming you also thought Fulmer deserved yet another year to "turn it around". With that kind of thinking the Vols would be near the bottom of the SEC every year. He had 4 years and the basketball program was in worse shape when he left it than when he found it.

Ninja writes:

Buzz needs to remember to drop by to get that knife out of Fancher's back once he gets to Boone.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Ninja:

Buzz needs to remember to drop by to get that knife out of Fancher's back once he gets to Boone.

I guess it isn't possible for a school to ever have a coaching change without accusations of the new guy stabbing the old guy in the back.

Volunatic writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Regardless of how bad you perceive the Wildcats being over the past 4 years, no other SEC team besides UT has finished ahead of them every year over that time span.
That's pretty good, IMO.
I hope UT somehow manages to become a football school again, in addition to now being relevant in basketball.
By the way, UNC called, they said go back to Tiger High-- the Tarheels don't want you as a fan.

TrouserCough writes:

Great man who was clearly caught up in the moment with his parting words.

jsnewman writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

So because you met him, and your son attended his camps, he's one of the finest Christian men you ever gotten to know?

Do you remember anything from his days at UT or know anything about his past? Ask yourself.......

Do fine Christian men throw other men under the bus to save their own behind?

Do fine Christian men repeatedly blame others (including college kids) for their own shortcomings?

I stand by the my statement that Buzz is one sorry excuse of a man.

I don't need anyone telling me what a great guy and friend he is, when I've seen, heard, and witnessed the the opposite with my own eyes and ears.

As I stated, this has nothing to do with his coaching skills, but rather his character or lack thereof.

no_excuses, perhaps you could teach Buzz the meaning of your screen name the next time you see or speak with him, as he most certainly doesn't understand its meaning.

How about a little class? I don’t understand what why anyone would make such tasteless comments. Peterson left UT better than he found it. I too didn’t agree with all his decisions on the floor. I would have been happy with him staying another year but he left Mike Hamilton little choice with some of the remarks he made. I think he was a decent hire and an understandable fire… if that makes any sense. Pearl was a brilliant hire and took the Peterson pieces on to play beyond their abilities. I don’t think anyone would argue that.
I wish Buzz well. I don't understand why anyone would feel otherwise. You are entitled to your opinions even if they are senseless, unreasonable and lacking maturity. Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.” You may want to take note of that and back away form the keyboard.
F.Y.I. I was born in Knoxville. I have always followed UT basketball and furthermore I am an alumnus. I want you to know that because I am quite confident that I am more informed, better educated and possess a superior intellect. I know some of what I said may be above your ability to comprehend. I would like to think UT fans are a class act but with "fans" like you... I wonder?

Volunatic writes:

Buzz did NOT leave UT better than he found it, at least not with respect to basketball. (I have no doubt that he was a good influence on his players' lives, though.)
His predecessor, Jerry Green, won 20+ games every season he was here, and made it to the NCAA tournament every season, and got UT to their first Sweet 16 appearance ever.
Sure, Buzz recruited some good players who excelled in Bruce Pearl's system, but Buzz was handed some good players, too. He took the reins when Haislip (NBA draftee), Yarbrough (NBA draftee), and Ron Slay (SEC Player of the Year) were all on the roster. He may have helped their development, but the W/L record while he had them puts a question mark on how much he helped their development.
I said it before-- Buzz seems like a really good guy, and he has a proven record as a good coach for small schools, but he was not a good coach for UT.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

like you know

get a life

Colliervol writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DSA, you and EB never saw eye to eye on this one, did you? I have to agree with you on this one. Hard to argue with Buzz's character. Unfortunately, that doesn't count in the win-loss column, does it?

As far as Pearl goes, I'll take his idiosyncracies in exchange for this program being at a level it hasn't been at consistently in about 30 years. Hard to argue with that too.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Why do you even care?You are a TarHeels fan.

I have asked him directly at least three times why he is on here and he has never answered. I have concluded that he is just the kind of guy who walks into a bar--except that I doubt he is old enough to do so legally--and immediately insults the two biggest guys there, telling each that the other guy started it and proposing that the two of them fight to decide it. He is sorrier than any of the other lopers on here because he has no dog in any of our fights. He just wants to yank our chains for no good reason. What a loser!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

I think it's ok as long as you dont spill your beer.

Nah, it's still good, if you do it openly, as long as you don't spill the OTHER guy's beer(;-P)!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features