UNCW Officially Moves into the Buzz Peterson Era

Mark BurlinContributor IApril 18, 2010

April 18, 2010

Early Friday morning, prior to stepping up to the podium, UNCW Athletic Director Kelly Mehrtens officially passed the traditional "Feel the Teal" blazer on to the new head coach of the men's basketball team.

After having slipped on the flashy jacket, new head coach Robert "Buzz" Peterson expressed his excitement with a smile by saying, "Wow, fits pretty good."

Coach Peterson is a relatively unknown coach with a surprisingly long list of credentials. His laundry list of coaching jobs consists of stints as an assistant coach at prestigious schools such as N.C. State and Vanderbilt.

These opportunities supplied him with the skills needed to acquire his first head coach position in 1996 at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  

During his time there, the Mountaineers won three Southern Conference Titles and in 2000 led them to a NCAA tournament appearance. This accomplishment earned him the Southern Conference Coach of the Year award.

Following his departure from App State, he enjoyed an incredible season in 2001 with the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes where they went 26-11 to go on to become NIT Champions.

After such an amazing season and more brilliant results, the SEC came calling and offered Peterson the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee.

In a more competitive and challenging league, Coach Peterson wasn't able to create the same magic that he did with the Hurricanes. In four seasons he went 29-35 with the Volunteers, and as a highlight led them to two NIT appearances.

Coach Peterson then returned back to his roots with the Mountaineers in 2009 to again lead them to another Southern Conference title.

Peterson has proved that he has the potential, passion, and coaching skill set to turn the Seahawks into a CAA and national contender.  He made a point to mention that though he has moved around a lot in his career, after a long discussion with his family, Wilmington and Seahawk nation is where he wants to be.

(Buzz Peterson is also a long time friend of another Wilmington native, Michael Jordan. Jordan and Peterson were roommates during the Tarheels 1982 championship run. He spent about two years working under Jordan with the Charlotte Bobcats as the Director of Player Personnel.)