Photo by Venus Edlin

LC men’s basketball hires a student coach

The Lewis & Clark men’s basketball team coaching staff added a unique position when Nate Peterson ’22 joined the program in his first year at college last year. After spending time watching tapes and sharing his basketball knowledge with the team, the organization created the student assistant coaching position for Peterson to fill.

Peterson first developed a love of basketball when he joined his sixth-grade team. Even then, he had a unique understanding of both the game as a whole and how he could maximize his own skills to succeed within that game.

“In middle school, I was not very good at all so I had to figure out how to make it work,” Peterson said. “Even though I wasn’t very big and skilled. I guess that is what really sparked (my love of coaching). I wasn’t a six-foot scorer with a killer jumper or anything so I had to use what I had.”

He was attracted to coaching because of his understanding of how to put players in positions where they can help the team succeed attracted him to coaching. In order to succeed on the court, Peterson had to learn how to outsmart people who possessed more natural talent. This playing style was successful enough to earn him a spot on his high school varsity basketball team where he was coached by Bill Treseler of Albany High School in San Francisco, his first role model in the profession. 

“He had a very distinct leadership style …  just watching how intentional he was, taught me a lot,” Peterson said. 

Even though Peterson was not playing on the LC basketball team when he first arrived on campus, he knew that he still wanted to be involved with basketball. Tim Mccrory, had just been hired to be the head coach of the team which gave Peterson an opening to include himself in the new leadership direction of the team. 

With the encouragement of members of the team he already knew, Peterson showed up at Mccroy’s office to share his basketball knowledge and ask for a role on the team. Mccrory agreed to let Peterson come to practice and he quickly started to establish himself as a valuable part of the coaching process. 

Peterson’s responsibilities on the team quickly grew and range from creating play animations to send out to the team to participating in coaches meetings to build strategies. This year, Peterson has even helped design the sideline and baseline out-of-bounds plays for the team. Another primary role of his job is working with individual players on development. 

“His role is just going to keep growing in his next two years and he has just been a great fit with me personally and fantastic for us as a team.” McCrory said. 

Peterson is appreciative of the community basketball has given him and the way the team has supported him.

“Just being around and being able to be a part of the team, it’s great,” Peterson said. “All the coaches are great, I think we’re close as a coaching staff and then all the players are great and super welcoming to like what I do, even though it’s sort of a not really traditional position.”

Peterson hopes that his position here will one day translate into a coaching career. His ultimate goal is to coach for a Division I program which he believes would be perfect for his personal development passion.

“I think the job of a great coach is to put players in positions to win and to be successful,” Peterson said “You can’t make anybody be successful but you should aim to give them every resource they need to improve as players and in a broader way as people.”

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