After leading Eaton’s girls varsity basketball team to back-to-back 20-win seasons, a league championship and two sectional finals, Gary Peffly has decided it is time to step aside.
He submitted his retirement letter to Eaton Athletic Director Eric Silverman last month.
“I have retired. I feel I’ve taken this team as far as I think I can take them and I think they need somebody young and energetic and willing to take them to the next step; I just don’t know if I had it at my age,” Peffly said.
Peffly said the decision to step away from the game he loves was a hard one but he knew it was time.
“The game of basketball now takes somebody that wants to go 24/7 and I just don’t want to do that. I still have a phenomenal passion and love for the game,” he said.
“I started playing this game in the late 40s. I fell in love with the game in the mid-50s and I love the game so much. I still have a passion and a love for the game. I just don’t want to do all of the other stuff. The grading of films, summer basketball, leagues, paper work, scheduling. If I could just go to practice everyday I would be tickled to death. The juniors, sophomore and freshman, they deserve better. That is one of the reasons I’m stepping down. They deserve better than what I can offer them. I feel next year they could be a great, great basketball team.”
He’s not ruling out a return.
“In this retirement, I don’t think I’m saying I’m completely done with basketball. I’m just saying right I feel is the right time. Now is the time to step back and let someone with a lot of energy and a lot of go take this team to the next level,” Peffly said.
During his nearly 40-year coaching career he has coached in a state championship, won somewhere between 550-600 games and more importantly he’s been able to do it with his family.
“I have done some things in my coaching career that I don’t know of many people can say. I’ve coached my little brother for three years in varsity basketball. I coached my son. My daughter was a cheerleader. I coached my grandson for one year and I’ve coached my granddaughter for nine straight years starting in the fourth grade. How many people can honestly say that they had the opportunity and luxury of doing something like that?” he asked. “It has been a grand, grand run for me. I greatly appreciate everything that everybody has ever done for me. It’s been an outstanding career.”
The wins and losses were not the reason he chose to coach.
“That wasn’t why I got into it. Do I want to win? Yes. I got into because I love the game and I like passing my basketball knowledge on to the younger generation,” Peffly, who guided four teams to the regionals, said.
“It’s been a great ride. I can’t say enough about the kids. The kids are what it’s all about. I’ve enjoyed working with the girls and the boys in my coaching career. I’d love to thank the kids, the student-athletes, the parents and the fans for making these last few years just a very, very enjoyable ride. I can’t praise them enough and show them the appreciation I have for them.”