Dan Peters, former Youngstown State coach, dies of cancer at 60

Dan Peters, former Youngstown State coach, dies of cancer at 60

By Sam Vecenie | Staff Writer

Dan Peters, formerly head coach of Youngstown State as well as an assistant at Ohio State and Cincinnati, died Monday morning after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 60 years old.

Peters was most recently the Director of Basketball Operations at Akron University, a position he held until December 2013 when he took a leave of absence after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Here are some of Peters' other accomplishments, courtesy of Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch:

A Cleveland native who grew up in Canton, Peters began his coaching career in 1976 at Guernsey Catholic High School in Cambridge, Ohio, and also was head coach at Byesville Meadowbrook for one season before moving to the college level in 1979 at Delta State.

He was an assistant to Bob Huggins at Walsh College in Canton for two years before becoming Walsh head coach in 1983. After head coaching stints at Saint Joseph's (Ind.) and Youngstown State, where he was Mid-Continent Conference coach of the year in 1998, he rejoined Huggins at Cincinnati in 1999.

He was appointed interim coach at Cincinnati in 2004 after Huggins was fired after being arrested for drunken driving. Less than two months later, he moved to Ohio State to join Matta, who had just been hired from Xavier.

Peters is survived by his wife Nancy and two sons, Michael and Danny. Danny Peters himself is currently moving up the coaching ranks, and was recently hired as an assistant coach at Ball State University after four years on Arizona's staff as an assistant director of basketball operations.

There has been an outpouring of support for Peters' family from both the coaches' and players' community on Twitter, as Peters was known as one of the great guys in the coaching community.

We wish our condolences to the Peters family and anyone else who has been affected by Peters' passing.

UPDATE: The University of Akron has released a statement about Peters' passing:

AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron Department of Athletics and Zips Basketball are saddened to announce that former Director of Basketball Operations Dan Peters passed away on Monday.

Peters, 60, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2013 and took an indefinite medical leave of absence after the Zips played Bethune-Cookman on December 14.

"Today, we suffered a tremendous loss for our program and our team; in addition, I lost one of my closest personal friends," Head Coach Keith Dambrot said. "'Pete' had a calming effect and compassion towards our players that will be difficult to replace. He served this program with his heart, his spirit and his soul, and he will be remembered for his selflessness and sacrifices. Our hearts go out to his wife, his sons and the rest of his family. This upcoming season will surely be dedicated in his honor."

Nicknamed "Pete," Peters spent five seasons on the bench for the Zips before retiring in July 2014 after a 30-plus year coaching career. Peters is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his two sons, Danny and Michael.

Last season, both the men's and women's teams wore "4 Pete's Sake" patches on their uniforms in honor of Peters. The patches drew the attention of the college basketball community as coaches and teams showed their support for Peters during last season's Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend (Jan. 25-26) by wearing a "4 Pete's Sake" pin on their lapels. Every school that Peters worked at, as well as every member of the Mid-American Conference, wore patches and/or pins in support of Peters.

The list of programs included Akron (men and women), Arizona, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Delta State, Eastern Michigan (men and women), Houghton College, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Ohio State, St. Joseph's College (Ind.), Toledo, Walsh University, Western Carolina, West Virginia, Western Michigan and Youngstown State (men and women).

Peters was honored by the United States Basketball Writers Association's (USBWA) in February as the organization named him one of three recipients of its Most Courageous Award.

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