It is bittersweet to see the end of any era come to a close. It brings great joy to look back on all the wonderful memories but also a bit of sadness when you know things will be changing. 

That is exactly the feeling surrounding PLNU Athletics, and specifically the track and field team, since learning longtime assistant coach and legendary student-athlete Shane Peterson will be saying goodbye to PLNU, a place he has called home for 26 years, and moving to Idaho to pursue other ventures.

“Shane has been a part of the PLNU track family as an athlete and coach since the fall of 1995,” said Jerry Arvin, track and field and cross country head coach. 

“For the past 26 years, he has exemplified the mission statement as a student, an athlete, and staff. He was and is well-liked by every one of his peers and the student-athletes. He brought fun, coaching knowledge, and exceptional athletic skills to share with all of the student- athletes with whom he worked.”

“Our personal relationship has grown over those years from student-athlete to coaching assistant to associate head track coach, but most of all, great friends,” Arvin continued. “The coaching vacancy on the staff can be filled, but no one will replace what Shane has done during the past 26 years. God’s plan for him and his family is my strongest desire for their future. I am anxious to follow this next chapter in his life. All PLNU track and field student-athletes have benefited from Coach Peterson’s love for them and his love of track and field excellence.”

Peterson was one of the greatest and most talented student-athletes in the history of the PLNU track and field program (1996-2000). In addition to his six GSAC Championships, he was a three-time NAIA champion and a five-time NAIA All- American. He won the javelin at three straight NAIA Championships (1998- 2000) and also placed second in both the shot put and the decathlon. Peterson’s throw of 232-3 at the 2002 NAIA Championships earned him a spot in the 2002 U.S. Olympics track and field trials.

“With many prayers for opening and closing of doors, health for my wife, and something different for my children, I have made the extremely difficult decision to leave PLNU,” said Peterson. “In all honesty, I never thought I would ever be leaving. After 25 plus years here, including my time as a student-athlete, I can say that PLNU is a very special place to be whether a student, athlete, staff, or faculty. I have absolutely treasured my time here and will miss this place. The students and all of my co- workers are without a doubt what makes Loma the truly special place it is. I want to extend thanks to my co-workers in the kinesiology and athletic departments … you will always have a place in my heart! Lastly, to Coach Jerry Arvin, who has always looked out for me and my family from the very beginning. He has been the best supervisor and father figure anyone could ever ask for.”

Peterson was named the Most Valuable Field Athlete in each of his four seasons, and in 1999, he was selected the Meguiar Memorial Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year. He graduated from Point Loma in 2000 with a degree in physical education, before earning his master’s from Azusa Pacific in 2004. He then worked as an adjunct professor at PLNU and as Coach Arvin’s assistant on the track and field team, before being named associate head coach in 2016.

“After 25 plus years here, including my time as a student-athlete, I can say that PLNU is a very special place to be whether a student, athlete, staff, or faculty. I have absolutely treasured my time here and will miss this place.”

During his tenure as a Sea Lion coach, Peterson has helped numerous student- athletes win GSAC and PacWest Championships, as well as take over the top spots in the Point Loma record books. This includes Tori Anderson, who was an eight-time NAIA All-American, fellow All-Americans Terrance Hale and Lane Votapka, and Freda Kallenberg who was named the Most Outstanding Field Athlete at the 2019 PacWest Championships when she scored 39 points while winning both the javelin and heptathlon. Peterson has also helped Solianna Faapouli take over the top spot in the hammer throw, Anessa Chirgwin in the discus, and Heike Siener in the high jump.

Sea Lion athletics will always miss the big smile and the bigger heart of one of the best men to ever represent the Green & Gold.

Danny Barnts is the Director of Communications for the California Collegiate Athletic Association. He previously oversaw internal and external communications for the intercollegiate sports programs in the PLNU Athletic Department.