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Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Field baseball’s Joe Peterson

Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Field baseball’s Joe Peterson


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Today, we get to know Field High School baseball head coach Joe Peterson, who is in his 12th season leading the Falcons’ program.


Q: Hometown?

A: My mom and I lived in Ravenna when I was a little boy, but then moved to Suffield during grade school, and I have lived there ever since.


Q: High school?

A: Field High School. Class of 2000. I played football, basketball and baseball.


Q: College?

A: Malone University (bachelor’s degree); Walden University (Master’s degree). Played football and was inducted into the Pioneers’ Athletic Hall of Fame.


Q: Current occupation?

A: Teacher and coach at Field Local Schools (2005-present).


Q: What inspired you to become a coach?

A: Growing up, it was just my mom and me. I have been incredibly blessed to have amazing men in my life as coaches and teachers. The impact they had on my life has been tremendous. They inspired me to hopefully do the same with the students and players I have had in my career.


Q: What makes being a coach at Field special to you?

A: Field has always had a special place in my heart. From the amazing teachers and coaches that I have had as a student-athlete, to the outstanding young men I am able to coach each year. In addition, Field has a superior staff that I am able to work alongside day in and day out.


Q: Who has been your biggest influence?

A: This really is a tough one for me. I have been so blessed to have learned from so many great coaches. They have taught me the game, how to mentor young athletes have always been there to still guide me today. These men are great coaches and great leaders: Keith Bowers, Matt Furino, Craig Nettleton and Donnie Coleman.


Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?

A: I was 13 years old, and we went to Marion, Ohio, to play a doubleheader against a 14U team named the Main Street Muffins. We were the away team, and I was the leadoff hitter, so I stepped in against a big lefty throwing pretty hard. I took the first pitch to the head and it knocked me out. They went on to run-rule us in both games. Ugly day.


Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?

A: In 2005, I was coaching JV baseball. We had a home game that day against Akron Ellet. We were currently in a stretch of unusually hot weather and our field was incredibly dry. We desperately needed to water down the dirt so it would not be so dusty. My buddy was helping me coach that year (Jimmy Conley). We got out a hose and hooked it up to a water main in the ground behind the pitcher’s mound and went on to water the field before infield-outfield. We got done with infield-outfield, and were were waiting on the umpire to start the game. My buddy said, “I’m going to water the field again before the umpire gets here.” I said, “I think we are fine.” He went ahead and did it anyway and ended up breaking the pipe and water started gushing out all over the field. By the time we found out where the main was to shut the water off, the infield was flooded. Patrick Youel was teaching at Field then, and all three of us were squeegeeing water all over the infield so we could play the game. We eventually got to play it, but it was almost called for darkness!


Q: Favorite TV show?

A: Frienfds, Lost, SportsCenter.


Q: Favorite movie?

A: The Shawshank Redemption.


Q: Favorite musical artist?

A: Garth Brooks, country music, AC/DC and classic rock.


Q: Favorite food?

A: Gionino’s pizza.

Q: Best vacation?

A: Summer of 2013, my wife, son (Grady) and I went to Hilton Head, S.C., with family and friends. It was a great week!


Q: Shoutout to former teammates?

A: Josh Vanhouten, Otis Smith, Kenny Smith, Donny Smith, Dustin Leek, Aaron Embacher, Drew Nikola, Jeff Trout, Jason McBroom, James Orlando, Matt Branham, Jimmy Garland.


Q: Favorite motto or quote?

A: You are either getting better or you are getting worse. There is no in between. Which one were you today?


Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?

A: We have high expectations for our young men. We try to relate baseball to life and life situations often. We believe that baseball is a great teacher, and we try to help our young men out with that process. It is our hope that each of the guys know how much we care for them, and we are there for them at times. In addition, we always want our young men to compete in everything and anything they choose to do.


Q: Favorite restaurant?

A: Texas Roadhouse.


Q: Favorite teacher from high school?

A: Biology teacher Jim Lawson.


Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?

A: God will provide. Don’t stress about so many things. Spend time with loved ones, because they will not always be here.


Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?

A: In my younger years, it was coach Keith Bowers. Playing baseball for him was incredible. In my high school years, it was coach Matt Furino.


Q: Coaching resume?

A: Field High School and Middle School for my entire career. Baseball (2004-present), starting as an assistant coach and taking over as head coach in 2012. Football (2004-present), coaching at multiple levels for Matt Furino. Middle school basketball (2005-07) for varsity head coach Craig Nettleton.


Q: Favorite sports team?

A: Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers.


Q: Favorite athlete then?

A: Ken Griffey, Jr., Eric Davis and Daryl Strawberry.


Q: Favorite athlete now?

A: Nick Chubb.


Q: First job as a teenager?

A: I worked for the city of Kent in the water-treatment plant.


Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?

A: My mother.


Q: Halloween costume this year?

A: I didn’t have one, but my favorite has been Joe Dirt.


Q: Favorite video game?

A: Ken Griffey Jr.’s Major League Baseball (SNES) and Madden.


Q: Can you play any instruments?

A: Absolutely not.


Q: Favorite candy?

A: Snickers.


Q: First car?

A: 1981 blue Honda Accord. I mowed yards all summer as payment.


Q: Best friend?

A: My wife, Robyn. She is amazing!

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