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Rebels anchor hopes with Peer

May 15, 2010|By MARK KELLER
  • Toby Peer
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HAGERSTOWN -- South Hagerstown High School athletic director Mike Tesla made a statement Friday that's been weeks in the making.

Tesla made the long-awaited announcement that Toby Peer has been named the Rebels' seventh head football coach, nearly seven months to the day since previous coach Greg Kellick handed in his resignation.

Tesla said the job had been offered and Peer accepted more than a month ago, but some administrative issues needed to be cleared up before the job could be made official. He said he thinks Peer is worth the wait.

"He was so impressive on the questionnaire that we gave (applicants)," Tesla said. "He really stood out. You could tell he was into the sport and that he was in it for the kids, not for himself. He's a football person."

Peer has experience on both sides of the football, spending his first nine years coaching defense and the last 11 coaching offenses.

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The job also gets him closer to family. Much of his side of the family lives in the Cumberland, Md.-Fort Ashby, W.Va. area, while his in-laws reside in Jefferson, Md.

"This is a great opportunity to get closer to family, but also to come in and create a vision and build a program the way I want it done," Peer said.

Peer will have to work on an accelerated timetable in order to prepare for summer practices, which begin three months from Friday. He had his first meeting with players during school Friday, which Peer said went very well.

He also has begun the process of interviewing candidates for his coaching staff.

"The middle of May is extremely late, but I'm not going to worry about things I can't control," said Peer. "We're going to formulate a plan of action and get to work immediately. It'll all work out."

Peer, 40, is originally from Brandywine, W.Va., and played defensive line at Shepherd University in 1989 and 1990 before taking his first coaching position under Monte Cater at Shepherd in 1991.

After three years with Cater, Peer served as assistant coach at Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola high schools in Florida, then became the defensive coordinator at Savannah (Ga.) State University.

Peer moved closer to his hometown in 2000, taking the head coaching job at James River High School in Buchanan, Va. James River went 1-9 in his first season, then improved to 7-3 and 8-2 the next two seasons.

From there, Peer moved to Spotswood (Va.) High School, where his teams won just one game in two seasons. After two seasons as an assistant at Lord Botetourt High School, he landed at William Fleming High School in 2008 as the offensive coordinator.

Peer said he would build the South program, which has not had a winning season since 2002, on four cornerstones: Weight room, tracking player development in and out of the classroom, recruiting players within the school and maintaining a loyal staff.

He said he will employ an odd-man front defensively -- he used a 5-3 set while at James River -- and multiple sets offensively, including the spread.

"Your offense has to be multiple enough to get the ball to your best players year in and year out," Peer said. "You can't recruit, so the system has to be multiple enough to fit your kids."

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