Robert “Buzz” Peterson continues to rebuild the UNCW program after finishing the regular season in the Colonial Athletic Association higher than expected in his first three years at the helm.
Peterson, who has piloted four different teams to five post-season tournament appearances during his career, owns a 33-59 record at UNCW after three campaigns in Wilmington. He has coached the Seahawks to 13-18, 10-21 and 10-20 records during his time in the Port City.
The 2012-13 team went 9-5 at home and won the Wilmington Division of the Nations of Coaches Classic. Led by First-Team All-CAA performer Keith Rendleman, the Seahawks also knocked off CAA frontrunner Northeastern in a mid-February homecoming game at Trask Coliseum.
Prior to taking over at UNCW, Peterson led Appalachian State to the semifinals of the 2010 CollegeInsider.com Tournament, guiding the Mountaineers to a 24-13 overall record and the SoCon North Division title. He stands 258-206 (.556) in 15 seasons as a head coach.
Peterson, 50, left the college game in 2007 to become Director of Player Personnel for the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats, but returned in the fall of 2009 to ASU, where he began his career at Appalachian in 1996-97. In his first stint in Boone, Peterson led the Mountaineers to a 79-39 record in four seasons, including a 47-12 mark in Southern Conference play. His .669 overall winning percentage and .797 winning percentage are both tops among ASU coaches in the program’s history. Peterson was named SoCon Coach-of-the-Year in 1998 and 2000 and led ASU to three 20-win campaigns.
Following the 1999-00 season, Peterson took over at Tulsa, where he led the Golden Hurricane to a 26-11 record and the 2001 National Invitation Tournament championship. Tulsa defeated Memphis, 72-64, in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden and then cruised past Alabama, 79-60.
Peterson’s success at ASU and Tulsa landed him the Tennessee job in 2001-02 and he spent four seasons in Knoxville. He compiled a 61-59 record with the Volunteers, collecting two NIT berths.
In 2005-06, Peterson moved on to Coastal Carolina and piloted the Chanticleers to a 35-25 mark in two seasons. CCU registered its first 20-win season in 13 years in 2005-06 when the Chants went 20-10 before losing to Winthrop in the Big South Conference championship game.
Peterson then joined the Bobcats and worked closely with Head Coach Larry Brown as the organization’s top talent evaluator for the 2009 NBA Draft.
Before his first stint at ASU, Peterson spent nine seasons as an assistant coach, with stints at Appalachian State (1987-89), East Tennessee State (1989-90), N.C. State (1990-93) and Vanderbilt (1993-96). The teams that he served as an assistant coach for racked up four post-season appearances, including two NCAA berths and two NIT bids, and went a combined 154-117.
Before entering the coaching ranks, Peterson enjoyed an outstanding playing career at UNC Chapel Hill. He played four seasons for legendary head coach Dean Smith from 1981-85 and helped lead the Tar Heels to a 115-22 record and four Atlantic Coast Conference championships. He was a member of the 1982 national championship team, where he played with future NBA stars Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins.
As a player in high school, Peterson was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American at Asheville High School in Asheville, N.C.
The Buzz Peterson File
BUZZ PETERSON TIMELINE