Buzz Ball Returns to Boone

Peterson returns to Appalachian as Men's Basektball Head Man after nine years away (Photo Courtesy

Peterson returns to Appalachian as Men's Basektball Head Man after nine years away (Photo Courtesy

(Courtesy: Appalachian Sports Information  Release: 4/29/09)

BOONE, N.C. — Buzz Peterson, who led Appalachian State University men’s basketball to three Southern Conference regular-season championships and an NCAA Tournament appearance from 1996-2000, has returned to Appalachian to once again serve as the school’s men’s basketball head coach.

Peterson led the Mountaineers to a 79-39 record, including a 47-12 mark in SoCon play, in his first four seasons at ASU. His .669 overall winning percentage and .797 winning percentage in conference play are both tops among head coaches in program history (minimum three seasons).

After orchestrating a turnaround from an 8-20 season in the season prior to his arrival to a 14-14 record in 1996-97, Peterson coached the Apps to three-consecutive 20-win seasons, SoCon North Division titles and appearances in the SoCon Tournament championship game. The 1999-2000 squad went 23-9 and defeated College of Charleston, 68-56, in the SoCon title game to give the program just its second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history (the first since 1979).

In his four years at ASU, he was twice named SoCon Coach of the Year (1998 and 2000) and mentored seven all-conference honorees.

Following the 1999-2000 campaign, Peterson accepted the head-coaching position at Tulsa. In his only season at TU, he led the Golden Hurricanes to a 26-11 record and the 2001 National Invitation Tournament championship.

He then moved on to Tennessee, where he posted a 61-59 record from 2001-05. The Vols earned two NIT berths in Peterson’s four seasons at the helm.

Following the stint at UT, Peterson compiled a 35-25 record in two seasons at Coastal Carolina. In his first season at CCU (2005-06), the Chanticleers registered their first 20-win season in 13 years and fell in heart-breaking fashion to Winthrop in the 2006 Big South Tournament championship game.

In his 11 seasons as a head coach, Peterson has compiled a 201-134 overall record (.600) and led his teams to four postseason appearances.

He left the college game in 2007 to become the Director of Player Personnel for the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats won a franchise-record 35 games in 2008-09. Prior to accepting his first head-coaching position at ASU in 1996, Peterson spent nine seasons as an assistant coach, with stints at ASU (1987-89), East Tennessee State (1989-90), NC State (1990-93) and Vanderbilt (1993-96). The teams that he served as an assistant coach for made four postseason appearances (two NCAA, two NIT) and were a combined 154-117.

Peterson played for four seasons under legendary head coach Dean Smith at North Carolina from 1981-85. During his playing career at UNC, he helped led the Tar Heels to a 115-22 combined record and four Atlantic Coast Conference championships. He was a member of Carolina’s legendary 1982 national championship squad, where he teamed with future NBA stars James Worthy, Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan, who was his roommate and later hired him as part-owner of the Bobcats.

Peterson prepped at Asheville High School, where he was a Parade and McDonald’s all-American and beat out Jordan for North Carolina Player and Athlete of the Year accolades in 1981.

Peterson and his wife, Jan, have three children: Nicole, Olivia and Rob.

“After a very thorough search, there is no doubt that Buzz Peterson is the right person to lead our men’s basketball program,” ASU director of athletics Charlie Cobb said. “In his previous stint at Appalachian, he brought unprecedented success and excitement to the program and the University. His passion for ASU was evident when he met with his players for the first time Tuesday evening and his fit within the fabric of the community make him the perfect choice to bring our program back to the prominence and excitement that it previously enjoyed under his leadership.”

Due to scheduling conflicts, a press conference will not be held at this time – details about a future press conference will be available in the coming days. Check back with later today for David Jackson’s exclusive interview with Coach Peterson.


Season School Overall Record Conference Record Notes

1996-97 Appalachian State 14-14 8-6
1997-98 Appalachian State 21-8 13-2 SoCon North Champion, SoCon Coach of the Year
1998-99 Appalachian State 21-8 13-3 SoCon North Champion
1999-00 Appalachian State 23-9 13-3 SoCon North Champion, SoCon Tournament Champion, SoCon Coach of the Year, NCAA Tournament
2000-01 Tulsa 26-11 10-6 NIT Champion
2001-02 Tennessee 15-16 7-9
2002-03 Tennessee 17-12 9-7 NIT
2003-04 Tennessee 15-14 7-9 NIT
2004-05 Tennessee 14-17 6-10
2005-06 Coastal Carolina 20-10 12-4
2006-07 Coastal Carolina 15-15 7-7

Totals 11 seasons 201-134 (.600) 105-66 (.614)

Assistant Coaching Experience

1987-89 Appalachian State
1989-90 East Tennessee State
1990-93 NC State
1993-96 Vanderbilt


Viking Baseball Schedule Change

034Avery’s scheduled home game for tomorrow against Madison has been rescheduled to this afternoon due to concerns about the weather.  The game will be today, April 29, @ 4 PM at Avery High.  Any other changes and we’ll pass it along.

Avery Coach Struck by Lightning

Viking Baseball Coach Daniel Jimenez is still feeling some of the effects of the lightning strike that he suffered on Friday evening following the team’s game with Hendersonville. According to Jimenez he and fellow assistant coach Samuel Phillips had gone back to the field approximately 30 to 45 minutes after the game had been called to place the tarps over the home plate area and the pitchers’ mound. Jimenez stated that he had just placed a couple of tires on the tarp and was making his way back in toward the dugout area when he was hit.

“All the kids were gone,” explained Jimenez, “and we figured that we had time to run out and cover the plate and the mound…At that particular time it seemed like all the clouds came together and I knew something was wrong. I saw the light coming out of the corner of my eye, and I started running; at that point I heard the explosion and it felt like someone hit me with a shovel in the [right] shoulder.”

According to NCHSAA regulations, as well as Avery High regulations, the policy on lightning is that once a ground to sky strike is seen, or thunder is heard, that play is to be suspended and everyone is to seek shelter until the storm has passed. Regulations also state that there is a minimum 30 minute wait period from the last thunder heard or lightning seen before play can resume; and ANY subsequent lightning or thunder results in the clock being reset, starting another 30 minute countdown.

“Our guidelines are the same as those in the NCHSAA handbook,” explained Avery Athletic Director Matthew Bentley. “The biggest misconception about what took place is that the players were still at the field; this took place thirty to forty-five minutes after the game had been called.

Bentley went on to explain that most of the players and their families had already left the premises and that the coaches were the only ones who were near the field.
“We had waited until we had a break in the weather,” stated Jimenez, “it happened quickly, we got caught in the middle of a bad storm.”

Samuel Phillips was about fifteen feet away from Jimenez when the strike took place. “I watched it all,” explained Phillips, “it was like a bad dream; I didn’t have time to be upset, all I wanted to do was make sure he was ok.

“We are a close knit group,” continued Phillips, “I didn’t even want to leave the hospital until I knew Daniel was ok. We figured that there was time to run out quickly and place the tarps on the field, it all happened so fast that we got caught. [Daniel] was sprinting off the mound and it honestly looked like he got shot. I ran over to make sure he was ok and just picked him up and got him to the dugout; he was hot to the touch.”

Phillips explained that he didn’t have his cell phone on him, so after making sure that Daniel was safely seated in the dugout, Phillips sprinted across the parking lot to the Aldridge Fieldhouse to let Head Coach Benny Wellborn know what had happened.

“As soon as I told Coach Wellborn what occurred, he called 911 immediately,” stated Phillips. “Something like this makes you realize that life is precious, you can’t take it for granted; you know, here one minute and gone the next.”

It is still unsure of exactly the nature of the strike, but it is believed that it was a ground strike and the tremor effects of the bolt are believed to be what hit Jimenez. “They explained at the hospital that they didn’t believe it was a direct strike,” explained Jimenez, “the doctor said that my clothes would have been charred and there would have been an exit wound, but there was none of that. He did many tests and x-rays to see if everything was alright, testing my blood and a urine test, just checking to make sure that everything was ok; he told me everything looked fine, but it didn’t mean that I was out of the clear, so they are having me monitor things for a few days, and asked me to notify them of anything that doesn’t seem normal.

“I look at life a lot differently now,” continued Jimenez, “it really puts things in perspective.”

Jimenez was taken to the hospital via ambulance around 6:30 Friday evening, and was released around 10 PM; he stated that he is still having some trouble getting energy back, but was very grateful for the out pouring of love the community has shown to him.

“I want to thank everyone,” stated Jimenez. “I’m not from here, and it really touched my heart to see all the support. I figured Coach Wellborn would be there, but all the people, they had the play and did a prayer there, a lot of people showed up at the hospital, and a lot of phone calls, it was overwhelming; and I just want to say thank you to everybody. I know people from work, but at times I still feel like I’m alone, and all of that was just overwhelming. I want to thank the first responders and the EMS and all of those guys.

“I mostly want to thank Coach Phillips. He pretty much ran out there with all of this going on to help me…it meant a lot.”

The school has stated that they will investigate into different options of storm awareness to try and prevent something of this nature happening again. For more information on the NCHSAA guidelines regarding lightning you can go to or

A Copy of the Procedures used by Avery High and the NCHSAA

A Copy of the Procedures used by Avery High and the NCHSAA

Yackey to Play for Muskingum College

Morgan Yackey 01Avery Senior Morgan Yackey has been signed to continue in her athletic career as a part of the softball team at Muskingum College in New Concord, OH. Muskingum is a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference in NCAA Division III competition. Muskingum is a private, liberal arts university located in New Concord, OH, and has a long tradition of athletic success.

Donna Newberry, Head Coach of the MC softball team, has a history of her own, recently being inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame in December. Newberry brought the fast-pitch game to Muskingum and pioneered a program which has now become one of the top programs in the nation, winning numerous regional titles (1992, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008), earning births into the NCAA Division III World Series, and winning a national title in 2001; which was the first for any athletic program at Muskingum.

“I am very pleased that Morgan has chosen Muskingum College to further her education and continue her softball career,” stated Newberry. “She is a good athlete and I believe that she will make a positive impact on our softball program here. I am looking forward to the opportunity to coach her and to help her reach her full potential as a player and as a person.”

Yackey was named to the All-State team, as well as Samantha Shook, last season, and has been effective for the Lady Vikings this season in the circle, as well as at the plate.

Congratulations Morgan, we’re all rooting for you!

Lady Vikings Looking to Continue Winning Ways

The Avery High Lady Viking soccer team is looking to improve their record tonight facing off with the Mountain Heritage Lady Cougars on the turf at MacDonald Stadium tonight at 6 PM.  With their win over Polk last week, the Lady Vikings have moved up a spot to #9 on the Latest Eurosport 1-A poll; with Polk dropping two spots to #5 and Hendersonville staying put at #6.

The Lady Vikings will take on the Lady Cougars tonight in a conference matchup, looking to continue their winning ways, facing off for the second time of the season with the Lady Cougars.  Avery knocked off Heritage in their first contest of the season, winning 4-0 over the clearly overmatched Lady Cougars.  Avery is looking to finish their season as successfully as possible, hoping to continue to climb up the rankings, and secure the easiest route possible heading into the playoffs.

The road may be a little rocky for the Lady Vikings however, as they still have Polk and Hendersonville left on their schedule.  The revised schedule (including make-up dates) is as follows:

April 27 – vs. Mountain Heritage, 6 PM
April 28 – @ Mitchell, 6 PM
May 1 – vs. Watauga, 6 PM
May 4 – vs. Hendersonville, 5 PM
May 5 – @ Polk, 6 PM

Playoffs will begin on May 13

Lightning Crashes the Party

The Lady Viking Soccer match scheduled to be played this evening at Avery High was postponed due to the Severe Weather that moved through the area.  The weather also caused the postponement of the Avery County Little League games that were scheduled for this evening, as well as the JV Viking Baseball contest.

The Lady Vikings will make up their scheduled contest against Hendersonville on Monday, May 4, at 5 PM at MacDonald Stadium in Newland.  Little League dates are yet to be determined.

Prior to the weather the Lady Viking softball team was victorious over the Lady Bearcats by a score of 6-3; and the Viking Baseballers got revenge on the Bearcats after Monday’s loss, earning the victory 13-3 this afternoon.

Any updates will be made as they come available.

Power Play!

Five Vikings hit homeruns against Mitchell (L-R):  Adam Pate, Chris Childress, Stephen Daniels, Sutton Stanley and Zac Hall

Five Vikings hit homeruns against Mitchell (L-R): Adam Pate, Chris Childress, Stephen Daniels, Sutton Stanley and Zac Hall (Gwen Clark Photo)

The Viking Baseball team fell to the Hendersonville Bearcats on Monday, April 20, by a score of 9-1.  The loss was a tough one for the Vikings to take, who according to the coaching staff didn’t play their best game; so naturally you could understand the concern the Viking coaches had heading into Wednesday evening’s contest against the Mitchell Mountaineers.

The Vikings jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two innings, but a couple of misplays, a hit or two, and at the end of 2 1/2 innings the Vikes found themselves knotted at 3-3.  That is when the bats were awakened as the Vikings would explode offensively for 9 runs in the inning on 4 homeruns off of two different Mountaineer Pitchers.  Stephen Daniels got the excitement started with solo blast to left-center field, just to the right of the scoreboard, putting Avery up 4-3.  Four batters and an error later, Daniel Huff would cross for the Vikings’ 5th run, making the score 5-3; and then Chris Childress would step to the plate with the bases loaded, smashing a grand-slam to put the vikings up 9-3, and cause the Mountaineer coaches to call to the bullpen.

Sutton Stanley on the mound for the Vikings late in Wednesday's contest

Sutton Stanley on the mound for the Vikings late in Wednesday's contest (Gwen Clark Photo)

New pitcher, same results, however, as Adam Pate came to the plate shortly after Childress’s blast, and knocked a 2-run shot of his own to straight away center.  Zac Hall would add a solo shot to close out the Viking half of the 3rd inning with the Vikes on top 12-3 over Mitchell.  Viking pitching would shut down the Mountaineers in the top of the 4th, and the Vikes would add three more runs in the bottom of the inning, as Sutton Stanley would get into the longball action, adding a two-run blast of his own.  The 15-3 score at the end of 4 1/2 was enough for the game officials to end the contest and for the coaching staff to see that the Vikes had learned from their game on Monday, and had come ready to play against the Mountaineers.

“On Monday, we lost 9-1. [We] did not play a good game all the way around; We were not ready mentally,” explained Coach Benny Wellborn following Wednesday’s game.  “The game against Mitchell the boys made a real turn around and played well; They showed a lot of heart and emotion.  It was good to see.”

The Vikes will host the Bearcats in a rematch of Monday’s contest on Friday at Avery High, gametime will be 4 PM.