Why McClymonds football coach Michael Peters, a four-time state champ, is stepping down

Michael Peters’ McClymonds program has overpowered Oakland Athletic League competition since he became coach

OAKLAND, Calif. — Over the weekend, the public learned something that the McClymonds program had known since August: head coach Michael Peters will step down after the 2023 season.

And before Peters, 55, told the team he has led since 2013, he told his family.

“They could see it,” Peters told the Bay Area News Group on Sunday, a day after the post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “They can see that I’m tired.”

“I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve got to really concentrate on getting myself healthy because football is stressful,” Peters said after the game. “It’s been a long time at this school, a school I love.”

So why announce his retirement right at the start of the playoffs?

“It’s the last home game unless we get a regional game,” Peters told the media. “I wanted to announce it now so that I could thank the guys and fans who supported me.” And I’ll bring back all of my players, and I’ve been in touch with former members of my coaching staff.”

Peters has stated that he will remain active at McClymonds, where he will continue to serve as the Oakland school’s outreach coordinator.

He will also continue to coach the school’s girls flag football team, and he described the athletes’ enthusiasm as “refreshing.”

“Those girls have more energy than the (tackle) football players,” he said. “They get me to go to practice, and they want to practice longer.”

When reflecting on his long career at the school, which began in 1992 as an assistant coach before becoming head coach in 2013, Peters expressed regret over how much time he had devoted to the football program.

“I want to enjoy time with my grandkids, and they deserve it,” Peters went on to say. “When my kids were younger, I kind of neglected them because I was mostly at practice and taking (players) on college tours.” At the very least, I’ll have more time to spend with my grandchildren.”

After losing to Mater Dei Catholic-Chula Vista in the 2-AA state championship, the longtime coach announced publicly that he was considering retirement last season.

Peters, the father of Las Vegas Raiders defensive back Marcus Peters, discussed his difficulties adapting to modern coaching, citing the prevalence of social media, overzealous parents, and the burgeoning NIL endorsement space in high school sports as issues he did not enjoy dealing with.

“With the flashiness of the game, from Pop Warner and up, I guess the game has passed me by,” Peters told me. “I’m not with all the showboating.”

If McClymonds wins its next two Oakland playoff games, the Warriors will have never lost to an Oakland Athletic League team under Peters’ leadership. Under Peters, the program has won at least ten games in each full season.

The next coach will have to meet a high on-field standard, which Peters said he will help find as part of a panel. However, he believes that being able to field a winner is not the most important quality in his successor.

“For me, it’s about what coach is gonna come in and dedicate a lot to this program,” Peters went on to say. “You have to come in and build the program, and you have to come in and help make kids productive citizens.”

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