Local coach makes it big

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By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

Lebanon native Gene Peterson was recently hired as the head football coach at Kentucky Christian University.
Peterson, 57, grew up in Marion County and graduated from Marion County High School in 1973. He now lives in Hillsboro.
He began his coaching career as an assistant football coach with Sam B. Thomas at St. Charles Middle School. He also helped Randall Talley with basketball.  Coaches Dudley Hilton and Mike Holcomb worked with Peterson in his first high school coaching job at Breathitt County.
He left there to become a middle school coach and offensive coordinator at Fleming County High School. In 2000, Peterson became the head coach at Fleming County.
“I had some great teams there during my tenure as head coach,” Peterson said.
While at Fleming County for 26 years, Peterson racked up some impressive numbers. His teams earned Eastern Kentucky Conference Championships four times, district championships once, and ranked in the top 10 teams in the state in six different seasons. He was also named Eastern Kentucky Conference Coach of the year in 2001, 2004 and 2009.
He’s been the head girls basketball coach, head baseball coach and also assistant coaches for both boys and girls basketball at Fleming County.
“The only thing I haven’t coached is hockey and soccer,” Peterson said.
After retiring, Peterson coached football for one season in Manchester, Ohio.
It was after that season when Peterson became involved with Kentucky Christian University (KCU). A little over two years ago, then head coach Mike Furrey wanted someone on his staff who had coached in Kentucky for a long time and had been successful.
“Grayson radio announcer Tim Carper recommended me to Coach Furrey, and the rest is history,” Peterson said.
He said in a recent press release, “I am very excited to become the head football coach at Kentucky Christian University, and proud to lead a football team that promotes the university’s values of christ, character, and career.  With great student-athletes who are working hard for next season, we have the opportunity to build on previous success and develop a premier program. I am very blessed to be surrounded with a great staff, supportive administration, and fantastic student-athletes. We have high expectations from our players and they know through Christian faith, hard work, and perseverance anything can be accomplished.”
Peterson has been coaching the quarterbacks at KCU for the last two seasons.  KCU is located in Grayson, and their mascot is the Knights.
Last season the team finished with a record of 7-4, and was ranked 25th in the nation in the final poll of the season. This marked the first time the Knights had been nationally ranked in school history as the school has only had a football program for five years. Former Marion County standout Jeremy Mattingly signed with Kentucky Christian and played on the team last season. The Knights play in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA in the Eastern division.
Peterson’s family has been very active in athletics of Marion County.
“My family, especially my dad and my brothers, have done some kind of coaching in Marion County for years,” he said.
Peterson’s brother Tim was the head basketball coach at Marion County High School and now is on the Taylor County coaching staff, and continues to coach Little League baseball in Marion County.
Robby, Peterson’s nephew, is the athletic director at Marion County High School and has coached football and track. Another nephew of Peterson, Christian, joined Marion County’s football coaching staff recently.  
“My brothers, Joey and Doug, have coached Little League football and baseball and middle school football. I’ve had a lot of cousins who have played at Marion County. My mom and my sister, Debbie, are great fans. Besides my wife, my dad [Gene Mark] has been the biggest fan of all.”