“If you help enough people get what they want, eventually you’ll get what you want,” is one mantra Bingham football coach Dave Peck has subscribed to over the past 31 years in the high school coaching ranks. On Dec. 8, he announced his retirement at his team’s banquet.
“It has been an unbelievable run,” Peck said. “To leave this profession on my own terms and with no regrets, I couldn’t be happier. I simply accomplished everything I could do as a coach.”
Longtime Bingham athletic director Brad Bevan, who is now retired, recalled the hiring search 15 years ago that brought Peck to head up the Miners program.
“The kids were really worried to see who we would pick for their new coach, and I assured them that whoever we brought on would be outstanding,” Bevan said. “I guess you could say we got it right.”
In 2006, Peck led Bingham to its first state championship in 60 years and established the top football program in the state over the next eight years with four more state championships, including consecutive titles in 2009 and 2010 and then again in 2013 and 2014.
“The icing on the cake for me was the back-to-back championships,” Peck said. “I feel like with this championship , I got to actually eat the cake.”
The 53-year-old father of four – daughter Christy and sons Tyler, Stetson and Justin, all of whom he coached – started playing football as an 8-year-old because “it looked fun.” He also played baseball and basketball throughout high school. During the 1978-79 season, Peck was named First Team All-State in football and baseball at Cyprus High School, while also being the leading scorer on the basketball team.
He went on to play wide receiver for the Southern Utah University football team before switching to the defensive side of the ball as a free safety and defensive back the next few years.
After his sophomore year at SUU and taking every class he could to be a veterinarian, he realized he would have to transfer to another university to continue toward that profession. So, he simply switched career paths and while there, was offered his first coaching job in Grace, Idaho in 1983.
After a year, he came back to Utah and coached at North Sanpete in Mount Pleasant, with stints at Bingham as an assistant for a few years, Hunter High as the defensive coordinator for five years and at Cyprus for another five years.
He has been head coach at Bingham since 2000, going 154-37 during that span, while reaching the semifinals or better in 10 of those seasons.
“The level of caring that Dave has for his athletes is almost unparalleled,” Bevan said. “Very few know about the early morning study halls or visits he has with young men that are struggling in and out of the classroom. His expertise in football and ability to coach the sport goes without saying, but it is the relationships that he has built – with players, their parents, his staff, other coaches from other schools and the officials – that really show the strength of his character.”
Peck took a year hiatus from coaching in the mid-1980s to run a family business.
“I probably had more money and more time than I had ever had before, but I missed teaching and coaching,” he said. “I really loved feeling like I was making a difference with kids.”
Peck’s teams have been dominant on the state level while also earning a name nationally over the past decade by playing “anybody, anytime, anyplace” around the country and showcasing Utah’s talent.
“It’s been an amazing experience here at Bingham,” he said. “I thought we could get to be one of the top teams in the state, but I never would have thought we could be recognized nationally the way we have.”
The 2014 championship squad finished the year ranked eighth in the country in the USA Today poll.
Peck said he has been eyeing retirement for a few years.
“I kind of got tired of waking up at two in the morning and thinking, ‘What more can I do?’ and then not being able to get back to sleep. It was driving me nuts,” he said. “This is a very stressful job that can really wear on you.”
Above all, Peck said he will miss his associations.
“Those letters that come that let you know that you made an impact are the things I really treasure,” he said.
He plans to stay connected to sports as he heads off into the sunset – selling sporting goods and looking to relocate in Sanpete County where he has property to have a place where his children and grandchildren can come.
“I’m excited for whatever comes my way, and my wife’s excited too,” he said. “She has always been a great support, and it’s been a wonderful ride together.”
Peck will coach the Miners one final time in a game against Florida’s top-ranked team in the inaugural State Championship Bowl Series Dec. 27.