Olmsted Hall of Famer Bruce Peepers is flanked by Westlake head
football coach Mark Hollars, left, and North Olmsted assistant
principal and former Eagles head football coach Tom Watts. (West
Life photo by Larry Bennet)
career proves golden
By Jim Horvath
Published March 26, 2008
his coaching career, Bruce Peepers believed in being a positive
influence on the athletes he worked with.
On March 10, the
North Olmsted Hall of Famer was acknowledged for his 47 years
of coaching and being a positive influence on area athletes when
he received a 2007 Golden Deeds award from the Greater Cleveland
Football Coaches Association at its 2007 awards and recognition
“He’s a real positive human being,” said Westlake
head football coach Mark Hollars, who had Peepers on his staff this
past season and presented him with the award. The Golden Deeds award
is presented to those who have made important contributions to high
school football in Northeast Ohio and to the activities of the Greater
Cleveland Football coaches Association.
“He coached with us over at North Olmsted and came
over with me to Westlake to work with our offensive line. He was
always upbeat and tried to bring out the best in everybody. He was
like a grandfather figure and did a great job with our kids and
always got a lot out of them. He was a tough guy too…you couldn’t
let the positive side fool you. He expected you to work hard,” Hollars
“I enjoyed all of my career,” said Peepers. “For me,
it was all a wonderful experience.
“My years at North Olmsted were great years. I’ve
coached with some outstanding head coaches, especially Ron Slater,
who I played for. He was the dean of Cleveland football coaches
and a wonderful person to work for. He, of course, had a very distinguished
career and had some outstanding teams.
“He was a great influence on me and was a big reason
why I got into the coaching profession in the first place. He’s
a legend at North Olmsted, and was not only a great coach, but a
great person,” he said.
He also had an appreciation for North Olmsted assistant
principal and former head football coach Tom Watts, who had several
strong teams in the 1980s, and Hollars.
“With Tom, I had the opportunity to coach some of
the finest linemen in the history of North Olmsted football,” said
Peepers. “It was a really exciting time. His teams won a lot of
Southwestern Conference titles and we always had outstanding players.
He retired in 1993, and that was the last year North Olmsted won
“And I enjoyed working with Mark as well. He’s a tremendous
young coach, and he’s doing a great job at Westlake. I’m looking
forward to following his team the next few years. He may be one
of the finest young coaches in the Cleveland area,” he said.
Peepers, who is retiring, was a 1957 graduate of North
Olmsted and graduated from then Ashland College in 1961. He began
his coaching career in 1961 at Willard High School where he coached
the offensive and defensive lines. He then moved on to North Olmsted,
where he spent 36 consecutive seasons assisting five different head
coaches, including Slater, Tom Watts and Hollars. In 1979 and 1980,
he served as head coach.
In 2001, Peeepers moved on to Avon Lake, where he
coached the middle school program and scouted for the varsity squad.
In 2002, the Shoremen won the Division II state championship. He
rejoined the high school ranks at North Olmsted in 2004 and 2005,
when the Eagles were state playoff qualifiers. He served as the
offensive line coach during that run.
In 2006, he joined the staff at Westlake to serve
as the Demons’ offensive line coach and head junior varsity coach.
He has also coached basketball and track throughout his career.
He was the head boys track coach at North Olmsted from 1965-1980.
“I remember Bay had some outstanding teams that we
were always chasing for the SWC title,” he recalled. “We finally
won it in 1979 with some outstanding athletes.
“In 1982, I coached with Bill Andrews as the assistant
girls track coach,” he said. “He had some outstanding girls at the
time. It was a new experience for me because I hadn’t coached girls
before, but I really enjoyed it. There were a number of great experiences
In 2001, Peepers was inducted into the North Olmsted
High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He played or coached on 11 SWC
championship teams for the Eagles. Among his accomplishments listed
were being named 1979 SWC Track Coach of the Year and Rotary Club
Teacher of the Year in 1995.
Throughout his numerous coaching experiences, Peepers
always maintained that a positive attitude was best for him.
“There’s a time to push, and a time to be positive,”
he said. “One of the most interesting things about coaching is which
method motivates kids to attain excellence. For me, that method
was to be very positive in my dealings with them.
“I enjoyed every moment. I loved the profession. I
loved every minute,” he concluded.