Tommy Peele, Chatham Central’s new AD, brings years of experience to the job

Posted 7/14/21

BEAR CREEK — Chatham Central’s athletic department will have new leadership this fall.

As fans file into Bears’ sporting events this school year — from football games to tennis matches — …

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Tommy Peele, Chatham Central’s new AD, brings years of experience to the job

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Posted

BEAR CREEK — Chatham Central’s athletic department will have new leadership this fall.

As fans file into Bears’ sporting events this school year — from football games to tennis matches — a new face will be there to greet them and make sure everything’s running smoothly.

Tommy Peele, the former athletic director at J.S. Waters School in Goldston, has been named the school’s newest AD, effective July 1.

Peele takes over for Bob Pegram, the former Bears’ head football coach that had been the school’s AD for nearly a decade, who announced his retirement this spring.

And though it’s the middle of summer and sports aren’t slated to resume until August, Peele is already started preparing for what life will be like once the school year begins.

“So far, it’s been a lot of … (learning) all of the different programs that we use, such as HomeTown Ticketing, BigTeams — which has to do with our athletic paperwork — and Schedule Star,” Peele told the News + Record on Monday. “So, there’s been a wide variety of things and it’ll continue to be that until we get started. … I’m just trying to adapt and learn my new role as efficiently as I can.”

Over the last two school years, he’s gotten the taste of the AD position through his work at J.S. Waters. But he’ll be one of the firsts to tell you that high school sports is a different beast than you’ll find at other grade levels.

Digital paperwork and ticket sales — of which usage has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic — account for a couple of the major differences between the middle and high school levels, making his job just a bit more nuanced.

“I know it’s going to be a challenging role, especially early on in this first year or two, kind of getting used to my role and other responsibilities and getting everything down,” Peele said. “And, of course, still possibly dealing with COVID restrictions somewhat. We’re not sure what’s going to happen, especially with indoor sports.”

Some students and parents may already be familiar with Peele, who was the offensive coordinator for the school’s football team this past season alongside head coach Sherman Howze. He’s since stepped down from the OC job to give himself more time to focus on his new role.

While he’s set to inherit an AD role rich with responsibilities — many of which won’t arise until students return in the fall — one of his primary areas of focus remains to build relationships at the school and in the community, taking the time to get to know everyone involved in Bears athletics.

“What I’m really looking forward to is just building relationships with the community and with the faculty, staff, students, everyone at the high school,” Peele said, “because I think that’s a very important thing, to have a great relationship with people, with the community, so we can continue to have the community support that Chatham Central’s had in the past and continue their athletic tradition.”

The Bears’ newest head man is no stranger to high school athletics. Far from it, in fact.

Peele accumulated a little over two decades worth of teaching and coaching experience in a wide variety of sports: baseball, cross country, football, golf and track & field. That includes a 14-year stint coaching football, as an assistant, at Lee County High School in Sanford from 2005 to 2019.

His experience in so many areas not only means he has plenty of skills to show off at a family reunion or company picnic, but also that he understands how to best lend his support to all of the sports teams under Chatham Central’s umbrella.

“(Stepping down as the football team’s OC) will give me the opportunity to be able to contribute more time to these other teams,” Peele said, “just making sure they are taken care of so that they can operate successfully and go on to have great seasons in their respective sports.”

Though he’s only spent a little less than two weeks on the job, Peele has already begun thinking of ideas he’d like to bring to Bear Creek in an effort to boost both the athletic program’s brand and atmosphere at home games.

Peele mentioned creating an Instagram page for Chatham Central athletics to promote the school’s teams and inform students and community members when the Bears have upcoming games.

He also wants to create a dedicated student section — equipped with a catchy name and all — at some of the school’s sports venues to give students a chance to “congregate together and cheer on their classmates.”

But first, he wants to make sure he learns the basic ins and outs of the job before implementing anything new.

And his predecessor, Pegram, is making sure the transition goes swimmingly.

“He’s been a great asset for me,” Peele said. “I spent a lot of time in June, once I accepted the position, coming over to Central while he was still finishing up and he was very helpful in giving me ideas, giving me contact information, giving me training on all of these programs. … He said anytime I needed him to give him a call. I’ve probably averaged calling him at least once a day.”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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