Former Evart principal reflects on seven coaching seasons

Evart's Dennis Peacock (left) has a discussion on the track sidelines during a meet last year. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

Evart's Dennis Peacock (left) has a discussion on the track sidelines during a meet last year. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

EVART -- Dennis Peacock figured now was as good of time as any to give up boys track and field coaching for the spring season.

But he sure misses it.

Peacock, the former Evart principal, who coached the Wildcats to a MITCA team state championship his first season, retired last spring. He had plans for being a spectator but had to put that on hold after the MHSAA canceled the spring season because of the coronavirus crisis.

He coached for seven seasons, including the first year when he was high school principal.

"It was kind of a funny situation when I first came in," Peacock said. "A lot of districts won't allow their administrators to coach. When I came to Evart, they knew I had coached in the past. Jim Crawford had left and they didn't have anybody. They asked if I would be interested in coaching track.

"When I took the principal's job, they mentioned it and as spring rolled around, they still didn't have anybody. I told them I have to be principal, first obviously, and have to do a good job there."

But he decided to start coaching.

"It turned out to be seven good years," Peacock said. "It was fun."

Evart had won the MITCA title the previous year and in Peacock's rookie season, the Wildcats made it two straight state titles.

"We were third the following year and a couple of years we were fourth," he said. "We had a pretty good run."

Evart also won five regional and Highland Conference titles during Peacock's tenure.

"We had a lot of really talented kids," Peacock said. "That had a lot to do with it. We were talented and pretty deep. We had a nice run with talented kids ready to work hard. We had a lot of kids we can do different things with."

Evart was second and third in MHSAA state meets.

Peacock was Evart principal four years before retiring after 32 total years in education, and stayed on as track coach three additional seasons.

"I just loved it," he said of track coaching. "I just really enjoyed it. It's something I liked doing. It was a tough decision this year to give it up. I maybe wanted to do a little more fishing, and I do some entertaining up north. I play the guitar and sing, and I was going to be able to do more music earlier. We lived in the U.P. for seven years.

"A year and a half ago, we bought a little bitty house north of Newberry, a little cabin. We would now have more time to go up there a little more. I never had the opening day of walleye season off. Now I can't go anyway."

Peacock said he decided in January to leave the job. He realizes the disappointment for athletes when the MHSAA canceled spring sports because of the conoravirus issue.

"I feel for the kids, but sometimes you have to keep it in proper perspective," Peacock said. "If you can keep people safe, that's important."

Peacock and his wife, Kristi, still live in Evart.

"We enjoy it here," he said. "We like to do a lot of things."