Coaches come and coaches go, but there’s little doubt that Stansbury High has lost some good ones over the past few months.
Dan Peterson won’t be returning as the Stallions’ swim coach next year. Ray Clinton, the only baseball coach SHS has ever known, won’t be back either. And neither will Randy Quarez, the 2017 Utah Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Now, I don’t know all the details about how or why these decisions were made, or even who made them. What I do know is that while some may have felt it was time for a new approach, the coaches who are leaving certainly brought a lot to Stansbury High over the years and will no doubt be missed.
All three coaches have plenty of experience. Peterson was a protegé of legendary Tooele coach Mel Roberts, having competed for him at THS before going on to swim collegiately. Clinton is a former University of Utah baseball player, and his assistant coaches all had college playing experience as well. Quarez has been around Tooele County for far longer than Stansbury High has been open, and has the respect of his peers throughout the state — seeing him interact with athletes and coaches from other schools during the state track and field meet is evidence of that.
All three also had a lot of success in terms of wins and losses. Quarez, along with his assistants, coached SHS to a state championship in boys cross country last fall. The list of region championships on the back wall of the Stansbury baseball press box is a testament to the program Clinton built from the ground up. Peterson’s swim team made huge strides in the shadow of established programs like Park City and Tooele.
However, a good high school coach isn’t just measured by wins and losses — at least, they shouldn’t be. The true measure of a great coach is the impact they have on their athletes’ lives.
I’ve gotten emails from former athletes over the past several weeks about how Quarez motivated them to be better, and still recognizes them when he sees them years after they’ve graduated. Clinton, a lieutenant with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office and the commander at the Tooele County Detention Center, is as solid a role model as they come. And if you want to know what it takes to be a college-level swimmer, Peterson’s been there.
This is not meant as a slight to whoever steps into these coaching positions for the 2018-19 school year. It is, however, meant to show that there are some big shoes to fill, both on and off the field of play.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He, too, benefited from having high school coaches who were good role models. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.