PETERS, Don

Inducted: 1992
Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Don Peters has earned the respect of gymnasts and coaches across several continents. In the spirit of Bud Marquette, he has continued the fine work accomplished from the start at the So. California ACRO Team gym in Long Beach. In 1968 just before the Olympic Trials, Cathy Rigby was asked by this writer to perform at a fund raising exhibition at the University of California, Irvine. Don Peters approved her attendance and performance, and she was the hit of the evening. As I watched her perform, I had the feeling that she might be a truly top contended in the upcoming Olympics. I had seen Olympic performances on two earlier occasions and just knew that she was getting some kind of outstanding coaching. I’m sure Cathy would agree.

Competitor: Don Peters competed as a gymnast for eight years. He was the gymnastics Team Captain at West Chester University, (1969). He became the U.S. National Coach, (1980-’88); Olympic Head Coach, Los Angeles, California-USA, (1984) & Seoul, Korea, (1988), the World Championships Team Head Coach, Moscow, USSR, (1981); Budapest, Hungary, (1983) & Montreal, Canada, (1985). Don was named the Assistant Coach for the U.S. World Championship teams, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, (1987); Lausanne, Switzerland, (1997); Tianjin, China, (1999). Don was also selected to be the Pan American Head Coach, San Juan, Puerto Rico, (1979); Indianapolis, Indiana, (1987), & Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, (1999). General: Mr. Bud Marquette started the soon to become famous Southern California ACRO Team (SCATS), which set the pace for women’s clubs in America. When he retired in 1957, the club was operated by a number of different coaches, but, after a nationwide search, Don Peters was brought in to direct the program as Head Coach and Executive Director, (1979). Coaching: The choice of Don Peters was brilliant, and under his direction and coaching, SCATS’ women gymnasts basically made history. Don had coached Marcia Frederick, the first U.S. woman’s gymnast to win a gold medal in a World Championship. At SCATS, both Beth Kline and Lucy Collins made the Olympic Team, and shortly thereafter the United States Gymnastic Federation (USGF) named Peters its Head National Coach, a position he held jointly with his SCATS Head Coaching position for the next eight years. Five of the eight members of the 1984 Women’s Olympic Team squad, Michelle Dusserre, Pam Bileck, Kathy Johnson, Marie Roethlisberger, and Lucy Wiener, all came from the gymnastic champions assembly line at SCATS. Also, in the same year, Canadian citizen, Gigi Zosa made the Canadian Olympic Team after training with the SCATS supervised by Peters. Peters’ coaching successes continued in the later half of the ‘80’s with Sabrina Mar becoming the U.S. National Champion and the Pan American Games champion, (1987). Sabrina was elected into the U.S. Gymnastic Hall of Fame, (2004).

Sources: Data provided by Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005 who also courteously provided Peter’s photo. Introduction and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.


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