Michael Peck prides himself on being a teacher of the game of basketball, one reason he believes he is prepared for the transition from high-level high school coach to the NBA Development League.
But Peck knows about being a pupil as well.
His 13-year-old daughter Madison was born with a genetic disorder (18q-), which has left her unable to walk, talk or feed herself. She spent 63 days on life support and much of her younger life in and out of hospitals. She had a feeding tube and attends a special-needs school in Las Vegas.
Shes taught me way more about things than I could have taught her, Peck said Monday after being introduced as the ninth head coach in Stampede history.
A lot about patience.
Pecks career has shown he knows about patience.
A shoot-first, apologize-later guard at Division II Northwood University in Michigan, Peck tried his hand at business out of school. He hated it almost as much as he hated defense and passing.
Coaching, he decided, was his calling. Peck spent 17 years in a variety of roles (graduate assistant, video coordinator, head coach) in college and high school programs.
He said he wasnt looking to get to the NBA, but his 157-8 record at national power Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and the six NBA players who came through the program earned him the opportunity.
I never dreamed about it. I never had it pinned up on my wall as a goal, said Peck, the son of a Korean mother and American father. Yet, I feel like Im living a dream.
The Portland Trail Blazers, who run Idahos basketball operations as the D-League teams lone parent club, hired Peck. He will coach at Blazers training camp and implement Portlands defensive scheme with the Stampede. Idaho opens training camp in November and plays its first game Nov. 28 at Los Angeles.
I always thought I did a pretty good job hiring coaches. Theyre showing me up right out of the chute, said Bill Ilett, the Stampedes managing investor.
Peck, a Michigan native, promised to bring his Midwestern work ethic to the Stampede, who have missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, including the past two under former Stampede star Randy Livingston.
Youve got to go to work. Ill grab my lunch pail and hard hat every day, Peck said. If we win, everybody looks good. But theres no shortcut to it. No magic dust. You got to work. You got to put in the time.
Having put in his time at Saginaw Valley State and UNLV and Findlay, Peck is ready for the opportunity to coach professionals one level away from the NBA.
Not everyone on the Stampede is going to be in the NBA. My objective is to get as many of them as we can up there, he said.
Peck was joined at the press conference by his wife, Terri. The couple has a second child, son Gavin, 4, who is healthy and a handful, Peck said.
You need to thank me when you do meet him for not bringing him. He would have torn this place up, Peck said.
Michael and Terri were tested after Madisons birth to identify if they could have another child. The tests came up clean.
Just a fluke, Peck said. A blessing is what we call it.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph