Akron's director of basketball operations died today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The news shocked the Zips' fan base, deeply affecting his loved ones. Here is the complete statement from the Akron athletic department:
AKRON, Ohio - The University of Akron Department of Athletics and Zips Basketball are saddened to announce that former Director of Basketball Operations Dan Peters passed away on Monday.
Peters, 60, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2013 and took an indefinite medical leave of absence after the Zips played Bethune-Cookman on December 14.
"Today, we suffered a tremendous loss for our program and our team; in addition, I lost one of my closest personal friends," Head Coach Keith Dambrot said. "'Pete' had a calming effect and compassion towards our players that will be difficult to replace. He served this program with his heart, his spirit and his soul, and he will be remembered for his selflessness and sacrifices. Our hearts go out to his wife, his sons and the rest of his family. This upcoming season will surely be dedicated in his honor."
Nicknamed "Pete," Peters spent five seasons on the bench for the Zips before retiring in July 2014 after a 30-plus year coaching career. Peters is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his two sons, Danny and Michael.
Last season, both the men's and women's teams wore "4 Pete's Sake" patches on their uniforms in honor of Peters. The patches drew the attention of the college basketball community as coaches and teams showed their support for Peters during last season's Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend (Jan. 25-26) by wearing a "4 Pete's Sake" pin on their lapels. Every school that Peters worked at, as well as every member of the Mid-American Conference, wore patches and/or pins in support of Peters.
The list of programs included Akron (men and women), Arizona, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Delta State, Eastern Michigan (men and women), Houghton College, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Ohio State, St. Joseph's College (Ind.), Toledo, Walsh University, Western Carolina, West Virginia, Western Michigan and Youngstown State (men and women).
Peters was honored by the United States Basketball Writers Association's (USBWA) in February as the organization named him one of three recipients of its Most Courageous Award.
Peters joined the Akron staff in 2009 after time at Ohio State (2004-09) and Cincinnati (1999-2004) as an assistant coach, as well as the head coaching spot at Youngstown State (1993-99). He also was on former Akron head coach Coleman Crawford's staff for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 campaigns.
Peters is a Northeast Ohio native who was born in Cleveland and grew up in Canton. He is a 1976 graduate of Kent State University.
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