MTSU to hold celebration of life for former baseball coach Steve Peterson on Oct. 29

Cecil Joyce
Murfreesboro Daily News Journal

Jill Peterson Wright said the impact Steve Peterson had on Middle Tennessee State went well beyond the baseball diamond.

"Everyone knows the accolades with his job, but over the past year and a half, what has stuck out over and over again are the people who reminisce about dad who he was important to who we never thought of," Wright said about her father. "From the pest control guy to the postman to the gas station clerk, he cared about people and treated them with respect, whether they could do something for him or not.

"He was kind and took the time to talk to everyone he met. Once you were my dad's friend, he stuck with you through thick and thin."

MTSU will hold a celebration of life for the longtime Blue Raiders coach on Oct. 29 at Reese Smith Field at 6:30 p.m. Gates open at 6.

Peterson died in March 2020 after suffering a heart attack. He was 68. Because of COVID-19, the celebration of life was delayed.

"I am looking forward to celebrating Coach Peterson's life and legacy with his former players, family, friends, community and Blue Raider fans," MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro said. "This is something we have wanted to do for quite a while but circumstances have not allowed until now."

Siegel coach Craig Reavis, who played at MTSU in the early-to-mid 1990s, learned a lot from Peterson, which he has translated into 500 career coaching wins at the high school level.

"I think it will be a great step in recognizing what Coach Pete meant to guys that had played for him, as well as recognizing the great contributions he made to MTSU, college baseball, and just baseball in the state of Tennessee," Reavis said.

JOYCE:Former MTSU baseball coach Steve Peterson was a great coach, better man

Former MTSU baseball coach Steve Peterson poses with Raider II during a past Groundhog Day Luncheon. There will be a celebration of life to honor Peterson on Oct. 29 at Reese Smith Field.

Peterson amassed 944 career wins, including 791 at MTSU from 1988-2012.

His teams won 11 regular season conference championships, nine league tournament titles and he guided the Blue Raiders to nine NCAA regional berths.

In 2009, MTSU won a school-record 44 games, reaching the NCAA regional in Louisville, defeating Vanderbilt before ultimately being eliminated. The 1990 team went 42-15, reaching an NCAA regional in California. The 2004 team also surpassed 40 wins.

"Steve Peterson touched a countless number of lives and not just those of the baseball players he coached, but people from all walks of life,"  Massaro said. "He genuinely cared about the needs of others.

"Coach Peterson groomed his players not only to be successful on the baseball field, but also in life. More than 50 of his players are coaching high school baseball and passing along the knowledge he bestowed in them. He was a player's coach who always got the most out of his players."

Peterson sent 71 of his players to the professional level, eight of which played in the Major Leagues. He coached seven conference players of the year and 12 All-Americans.

Peterson is a member of several hall of fames, including Rutherford County Old Timers Baseball (2003), Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association (2007), Huntsville-Madison County Athletics (2009), Blue Raider Sports (2010) and the American Coaches Baseball Association (2017).

He was an assistant coach under John Stanford from 1976 until being promoted prior to the 1988 season.

If you want to attend the event (which will include a meal), RSVP MTSU assistant athletic communications director Tony Stinnett at

Reach Cecil Joyce at or 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Cecil_Joyce.

Steve Peterson was head baseball coach at MTSU from 1988-2012. He won 791 games as a Blue Raider.