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Peck steps down as Mohonasen basketball coach

Peck steps down as Mohonasen basketball coach

Led Mighty Warriors to Section II, regional titles
Peck steps down as Mohonasen basketball coach
Josh Peck has stepped down as Mohonasen's basketball coach after four seasons.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Josh Peck has resigned as Mohonasen High School's varsity boys' basketball coach after taking the Mighty Warriors to heights they had never seen before.

His fourth and final season with Mohonasen ended in Binghamton with a state Class A semifinal appearance after his team secured the first regional title in program history, and the school's first Section II championship since 2011.

"I am going to miss those Tuesday and Friday nights, the Xs and the Os," Peck said. "There's nothing like it, but you can't compare it to family."

Peck's family, which includes four youngsters ages 5 through 15, was the primary reason for his departure from the Rotterdam school's coaching staff. He resides in the South Colonie School District where his two boys and two girls attend schools. He took a student assistant counselor position at Colonie before the current academic year began. Peck served in the same capacity while at Mohonasen.

"This was a family decision I made," Peck said. "My kids are growing up before my eyes. They all play sports, and I don't want to miss it. I want to be my kids' dad."

Peck said he has no plans to coach this season.

"I did not step down at Mohonasen to coach somewhere else," Peck said. "This season, I am stepping away. I could get back in it someday."

Peck said he met with the Mohonasen basketball players Tuesday to discuss his decision.

"It was hard. There were some tears," Peck said. "In the years I was there, family was our foundation. That was our rallying cry. Family. It's ironic that family is the reason I am stepping down. I want to practice what I preach."

Peck's final edition, with its balanced scoring and strong defense, posted a 15-10 overall record after putting together its impressive late-season run. His cast that eventually lost to Ardsley in the state final four was led by seniors Greg Van Epps, Avery Deas and Jordan Friello, and juniors Duncan Tallman, Jalani Abdul-Aziz, Nick Richmond and Chase Monroe.

"That group was talented, and everything lined up for them," said former Mohonasen and current Colonie varsity boys' basketball coach Ken Dagostino.

Mohonasen won the 2018 Section II title by beating Scotia-Glenville, Lansingburgh in overtime and top-seeded Amsterdam, and beat Notre Dame of Utica in the regionals, also in overtime.

Peck's first two teams bowed out in the sectional quarterfinals, and his third reached the sectional semifinals before a loss to Lansingburgh.

"We got it to a level," said Dagostino, who led the Mohonasen varsity for nine seasons before Peck's stint there. "He took it to another level. He worked his tail off."

Peck pushed more than basketball.

"I tried to emphasize character in the halls and the classroom," he said. "I tried to develop strong young men, and take their basketball skills to another level. They all bought in."

Peck's last season included a championship-winning effort at Mohonasen's Christmas tournament, the Kirvin Cup, when his team beat Schalmont and then Catskill. Tallman scored a Kirvin Cup-record 43 points in an 89-58 win over Catskill, and he will be the centerpiece of this season's Mohonasen team.

"I don't think I am walking away with the cupboard bare," Peck said. "I am leaving the program in a good spot. A lot of good kids are coming back."

Mohonasen basketball will be making its Colonial Council debut after years as a member of the Suburban Council.

"I would think a lot of people will be interested in the [Mohonasen coaching] job," Dagostino said. "The foundation is there. The next guy has two layers there for him."

Before coming to Mohonasen, Peck coached both boys' and girls' basketball for 11 seasons at The King's School in Bolton, Conn., and his teams won four league and three regional championships.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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