BILLINGS — Sometimes kids only have one offer coming out of high school.
DCC men’s basketball coach Joe Peterson knows that to be all too true, as the Buccaneers were his only choice in his time.
“That's one of the main reasons we came back. I wanted to give the same opportunities to other people that I got," Peterson said.
Peterson has been around the map, having been an assistant at Northwestern State where the Demons played in the NCAA tournament, before disappearing from the collegiate coaching carousel.
“After that, God called me to Kenya. I literally left my career and everything and I moved to be a missionary in Kenya for one year. That one year turned into 11 years. I thought I was going to live there for the rest of my life, honestly. God called me back to America and I didn't know what I was going to do," Peterson said.
But just after Peterson returned to the states, Dawson came calling.
In the eight years since, Peterson has built a powerhouse at the JUCO level. He’s heavily recruited Montana, while also sprinkling in other parts of the country, but he’s consistently sending players to 4-year colleges.
“I think any good program as a coach, you usually start with your base. Montana is our base. We get international guys, we get Texas and Louisiana guys and so on, but you've got to start with your home base," Peterson said. "It was really hard to recruit Montana when I first got the job eight years ago, but our success, our track record and all the guys that have been able to go on has really attracted a lot. They understand that junior college basketball is high-level basketball."
The Buccaneers fell in this year’s Regional championship game, but Peterson has proven more than capable of rebuilding on the fly.