UNCW’s new basketball coach is Buzz Peterson

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Submitted: Sat, 04/17/2010 - 12:52am
Updated: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 9:37pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — UNC Wilmington named Buzz Peterson as its new men’s basketball coach Friday. WWAY TV carried the entire news conference live Friday afternoon.

Peterson coached at Appalachian State last year, leading the team to a 20-11 record and finishing first in the Southern Conference North division with a 12-5 record. It was his second stint with the Mountaineers, who he also coached from 1996 to 2000, including a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2000.

The new coach will make at least $400,000 in his first season. According to a copy of his five-year contract UNCW released, Peterson will earn a base salary of $200,000 his first season. That amount will increase $10,000 in each subsequent year. UNCW will also pay Peterson $100,000 a year for his weekly coach’s show during the season. The new coach will also get $100,000 a year from the Seahawk Club to help with marketing and fundraising. Peterson is also due a $35,500 retention bonus if he is still coach after years one and two of the contract. The contract also includes various performance bonuses, including post-season games and winning conference or national coach of the year honors.

After spending just one year in a job for the second time in his head coaching career, Peterson said Friday that he and his family want to put down roots and stay in the area for a long time to come. UNCW Athletic Director Kelly Mehrtens said the contract shows that commitment to the school and community. If Peterson quits before July 1, 2011, he must pay UNCW $500,000. The buyout amount goes down $100,000 each year.

Peterson was Michael Jordan’s roommate when the two played together at UNC in the early 1980s, including 1982, when the Tar Heels won the national championship.

As a coach, Peterson left Appalachian after the 2000 season for Tulsa. In his only season there he led the Golden Hurricane to the NIT championship. He then coached Tennessee from 2001 to 2005, where he went 61-59 in his four seasons and made two trips to the NIT.

Peterson was 35-25 in two season at Coastal Carolina in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. He was out of college coaching for one year before returning to Appalachian. He spent that year as Director of Player Personnel with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, serving under Jordan, who now owns the team.

The entire Coach’s Corner show on Sunday morning will be dedicated to the new Buzz in town. That’s 11:30 a.m. on Sunday on WWAY TV.


  • radar says:

    UNCW will be writing some big checks to return their basketball program back to it’s so called glory. UNCW finances have to be already stressed.They will expect the alumni and students to fill the budget gaps by digging deeper into their already tapped out pockets.I suspect this nomadic coach is just passing through and this was an opportune time and salary to keep him anchored close to his home base. UNCW is a mid-major stepping stone with one of the smallest budgets in Division I athletics. I do not expect any longevity with this newest arrival. A mid-major can expect this cycle to never end. UNCW is backing themselves into a corner financially. Wilmington is not a big time collegiate town that can dredge up support from the community at large. They have a relatively young alumni base and core group of supporters who are expected to carry the financial ball. I have been around big time college athletics and I am not tealing it ! You have to drive a 100 plus miles to the Triangle or Greenville to get a taste of the big time. Division I football does wonders for a local economy. UNCW is doing well to keep a mid-major program propped up.

  • Becky says:

    This is obscene! This tells me that University is NOT about education but it IS about sports. If you don’t believe me – check out the salarys of the professors. Obscene.

  • Seahawkpoor says:

    Over $400,000 for a coach when the faculty & staff haven’t had a raise in two years. This University is sooo out of touch with reality from the Chancellor on down that it’s pathetic. As a UNCW employee I’m waiting for the economy to recover slightly so I can find a position where a University actually appreciates their employees. UNCW- Usually No Chance of Wage increase.

  • Areyouserious says:

    Are you serious!!!!!!! While talk and meetings are going on about cutting programs that are successful and help build better students and people, the heads of uncw are spending money they don’t have on a coach that will make no noticable difference. Why can’t the heads of uncw focus on the more “successful” programs. It’s not like basketball makes a ton of money for the school anyway.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Coach Peterson is 47. Coach Williams will be 60 in August and has a contract which carries him through the 2013 season in Chapel Hill; and would no doubt be renewed for as long as Coach Williams wishes to continue coaching.

    But, as a Carolina Grad, you know Coach Peterson would look at an opportunity to return to Chapel Hill. And, do not forget, he was recruited by then Assistant Coach Williams to play at Chapel Hill.

    To do that, he needs consistency in performance and a strong winning record for the next few years.

    What better place than UNCW to build that foundation for his next move. You know the building began on Friday.

  • AppFan says:

    There is no way Buzz will ever coach in Chapel Hill, he wont even be in Wilmington this time next year…you will see. You just overpaid for a primadonna. Enjoy him, and his wife. I hope you are on App’s schedule next season…but Buzz is a coward, so that won’t happen.

  • Mike Graham says:

    I live in Blowing Rock, NC and I am SO GLAD UNCW now has Buzz. I have to admit I did not want him to return to App State and he is NOW GONE FOR GOOD! He is so nomadic and I just don’t think he has found himself at age 47.

    Good Luck and I hope yall enjoy having him as much as we enjoyed losing him.

  • Pee Dee says:

    UNCW and Buzz deserve each other; Buzz wants money (reported $320k/yr) and UNCW wants name recognition. CofC assoc coach and UNCW alum Mark Byington would have been a better choice, cheaper money and would not leave for greener pastures. I give Buzz a year before he leaves for another job. UNCW is a joke and should have offered Ed Conroy more money to begin with and wrapped this up weeks ago.

  • Geneslady says:

    After watching the press conference, I feel Buzz is gonna do a good job…..if Kelly and Ro-Ro keep out of the program. He is filled with enthusiasm and knows how to win….something the Hawks have not had since Brownell was with them. I wish Buzz and his staff the best of luck! Go Hawks!!!!

  • Guestoutsidelookingin says:

    you have got to be kidding… $435,500 total contract????? for a UNCW basketball coach??? Seems like the school has lost its focus…what do the other coaches make? ps did you notice that UNCW had 2 swimmers go to the NCAA??? I am sure that the coaching staff does not make that kind of $$ and work much harder…and get RESULTS! He won’t be here long…either Mehrtens will mess it up or he will find a better ride…

  • SurfCityTom says:

    at his track record, he has a 600% winning percentage.

    He also moves to greener pastures when the opportunity arrives.

    Let’s hope Ms. Mehrtens keeps her nose out of his program so he has an opportunity to succeed.

    Let’s also hope they tie him down with a stiff buy-out clause in the event he is offered another opportunity. He’s 47; he has a number of years ahead of him in his career.

  • radar says:

    Now let’s tell Mehrtens to get lost !

  • AppGrad says:

    Seahawk fans…be weary. You just hired Larry Brown Jr. If Mike Anderson leaves Mizzou for Oregon this weekend, Buzz may be interviewing there next….

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