A Q&A with the new director of intercollegiate athletics


Sports Editor, Interim EIC

On Thursday, April 2, the athletic department announced that Piedmont Associate Athletic Director  and Head Baseball Coach Jim Peeples will serve as both head baseball coach and director of intercollegiate athletics, beginning in July when current Athletic Director John Dzik retires. How does Peeples feel about this new position?  I emailed him to find out.  

Harris : Why do you think they chose you over a person outside of Piedmont? 

Peeples: I have worked as either the assistant or associate athletic director at Piedmont for the last 14 years while serving as the baseball coach. During that time, I have also served on several NCAA committees as well as working very closely on several committees on campus.  I have been involved in administrative positions at all the schools that I have worked at. I think my experience and my knowledge of Piedmont College were important factors.  I understand Piedmont College and the type of student we need to recruit that will then come and be successful in the classroom and get involved on campus.

H: How did you feel after you accepted? 

P: I was very excited.  This is a critical time for the college. We have had record enrollments the last two years, and our athletic teams have had a lot of success. I want to help keep us moving in the positive direction that we are going. I have heard that people say we are a best kept secret, and I want to see us become a school with regional recognition because of our excellence in the classroom and on the athletic playing fields.

H: How did your family react? 

P: My family is very excited about this opportunity. My wife of 25 years has been a wonderful support system for me. My oldest daughter, Taylor, is a Piedmont alumnus, and my youngest daughter, Ashley, will be enrolled full time next fall.  My mother- and father-in-law love the college and are big fans of the athletic teams. The whole family is excited about this opportunity.

H: What are you most looking forward to? 

P: The thing I am most excited about is the direction we want to go in the athletic department.  President [James] Mellichamp and Dean [John] Misner want to continue growing the athletic program in a way that makes sense for Piedmont College. In the next three to five years, there should be a lot of exciting things happening in the athletic department that will benefit the entire institution.

H:  What changes can the department expect to see?

P: I am hopeful that over the next three to five years, I can serve the head coaches in our department to help each of our athletic teams become NCAA regional caliber teams. We have had a great deal of success for only being full-fledged NCAA Division III members for ten years.  I am hopeful that we can get all of our programs to that level and also have the opportunity to host more NCAA regional championships at Piedmont College. I think the most important part of that is to see our student athletes continue to be successful in the classroom.

H: How will your coaching experience help you in this position? 

P: Having coached at Piedmont for 14 years, I understand the challenges that face our coaches as well as our student athletes. Understanding the challenges goes a long way to helping devise solutions to those challenges, so we can continue to grow and have success.

H:  How will Coach Dzik coming before you affect how you run the department? 

P: Coach Dzik has done a tremendous job growing our department and setting us up for success.  He has worked tirelessly for the coaches and our student athletes so that we can provide a tremendous student-athlete experience for our student athletes.  He has been a great mentor, and I am forever indebted to him for how he has helped me grow as a coach and an administrator.  We need to keep the momentum going that he is responsible for putting into motion.  He was the perfect person to lead our department when he came on board.  He has made all our jobs a little easier because of his leadership.

H:  If you could tell Piedmont one thing about you becoming the athletic director, what would it be? 

P: I will serve the college, our coaches and our student athletes the best that I can every day.  Coach Dzik brought a speaker in a couple years ago to speak to our coaching staff about great coaches that people don’t know about. One of thoughts made by the speaker was to make the place you’re at the best it can be. My number one objective every place I have worked is to help that place become the best that it can be. I will work every day to help our athletic department become that.