Mike Peterson, who served as Ron Wisniewski’s defensive coordinator at Mesa Red Mountain since 2010, has been elevated to head coach.
The school is recommending Peterson to the Mesa Unified School District to be the school’s third head coach in its history.
This will be Peterson’s first chance at leading a program.
He was a linebacker coach at Chandler before going to Red Mountain, which had a strong defense this past season when the Lions surprised the state by reaching the 6A Conference semifinals before losing to Phoenix Mountain Pointe 21-14.
Several key players, including running back Lance Lawson, return next season.
“I’m really looking forward to the players coming back and the players coming up in the program,” Peterson said. “There are a lot of good kids in the program.”
It ended up working out for Red Mountain, which was ready to introduce Show Low’s Randy Ricedorff and former Mesa coach Scott Hare to the parents last week for a Q&A as the two finalists, before making its choice.
But Ricedoff backed out of that after receiving an offer elsewhere.
BORDOW: Red Mountain’s search was a mess
Mesa Desert Ridge football coach Jeremy Hathcock said he was offered the job. But Hathcock said he wanted to bring his staff, including defensive coordinator Travis Jackson. Red Mountain was happy with the assistants under Wisniewski, particularly Peterson, an up-and-coming, well-respected defensive coordinator.
Peterson is well-liked by the parents, who were concerned with a drastic change after Wisniewski was let go.
“The goal is get these kids in a position to win every week,” Peterson said. “The challenge will be putting together a staff, and doing the administrative things that I didn’t have to do before. But I’m ready for it.”
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