BAINBRIDGE -- In basketball, tradition is everything. Whether it is the height of the rim or the legends that whisper in long forgotten gyms, tradition is the backbone of Indiana basketball.
"I don't know if there is a more tradition- or history-rich program in Indiana," Peek commented. "So, that was the first attractive feature to the job. The second would have been that Milan is a basketball school. They care about basketball as their first priority and the kids all focus in on basketball.
"That's not something every school has," Peek pointed out. "I think that any basketball coach in Indiana would like to have a job where the kids who are going to compete in athletics, all compete to be basketball players."
Peek walks away from a program he led for three seasons, where ups and downs were just part of the game. In his three seasons, Peek led the Cougars to a 19-43 record.
He enters a program that has seen its fair share of tough times as of late. The Indians are 9-73 the past four seasons, but Peek believes the talent pool is on the rise and that they should be able to compete next season.
"They've had a down cycle of talent," Peek observed. "Every indication I've had from watching film and doing my research on the job is that they have a start of a big talent upswing. The kids are hungry to compete."
Peek met with his Cougar squad a while back to tell them of his decision to leave. He spoke about how it's tough to leave a program and kids, but he hopes the team understands his decision to leave.
"I met with them and you can never really tell with kids today, what's going through their minds," Peek explained. "Kids that had a lot invested and the kids that really showed strong improvement, especially the freshmen class, I think they took it a little harder.
"I think they (the team) understand this business and they understand when opportunities come about that you feel you need to go after, you need to do it. We have mature kids in that respect," Peek said.
Peek spoke about his feeling that if the team had a full roster in last season's campaign, the outcome would have been very different. He explained that even though the Cougars didn't posses a true basketball star, they were athletic and they worked to get what they had.
"I thought we got as much out of our kids as we could hope for," Peek said. "That's a tribute to them being able to work hard and improve and compete. We haven't had the most talented teams, but we've worked extremely hard, we've played extremely hard and we tried to do the right things.
"That is going to be the biggest thing I'm going to miss," Peek said. "Sometimes you take for granted a talented team because they are talented. They can get by just being better. Our guys competed just out of shear effort."
Although his dream job awaits him at Milan, saying goodbye is tough for the former coach. In three years, he created bonds with players, colleagues, students and the fans, and that is something that will accompany him on his journey.
"I have enjoyed my time at North Putnam," Peek expressed. "Especially the people and the relationships that I have been able to develop over the last three years. I will certainly miss the players, the students and the staff. I've enjoyed spending time talking basketball with Phil Myers, conferencing in the library office before school and interacting with the students each day.
"The people of the North Putnam community have treated my family very well and we will miss this place very much," he concluded.