Peek and Saunders begin officiating season
While the majority of faculty and staff at the University of South Carolina at Salkehatchie has a passion for sports, only few have the opportunity to actively participate into their adult years. This is not the case for criminal justice professors John Peek and Larry Saunders.
Last week Peek laced up his shoes to begin his 30th season and Saunders his 21st as football officials for the South Carolina Football Official’s Association.
“John and I started out calling youth league games in North Charleston and we promised each other that we would work hard and set a goal to work at Williams-Brice Stadium since we both graduated from South Carolina,” Saunders said.
This goal was realized for the pair in 2006 when they were selected to work the 4A state championship game in Columbia. This past week Peek and Saunders returned to Williams-Brice Stadium to work the final scrimmage for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
“It is a great thrill having the opportunity to be on the field with Coach Spurrier and his team. They are a great group of young men who will represent our university well this year on and off the field,” Peek said.
Saunders, who is a 1989 graduate of USC Salkehatchie, and Peek have enjoyed numerous highlights over the years on the football field. The two have worked a combined 13 state championship games. Both have been selected to work the North-South All-star game and the Shrine Bowl. In 2006, Peek and Saunders were selected to work the first nationally televised high school game in South Carolina.
Peek and Saunders have served as leaders for the association with Saunders serving as district director for the Columbia area and Peek serving as district director for the Charleston area. Both were elected to state level positions, Saunders as president for the 700 member South Carolina Football Official’s Association in 2009 and Peek as the vice president. Peek was elected as president in 2010.
Peek and Saunders have one more goal: to be inducted into the Official’s Hall of Fame. That goal should be reached by both within the next couple of years.