ACMS Archery Coach Brian Peyton Leaves Lasting Legacy

Coach with his youngest son, Cameron.  Cameron has recently completed his 1st year at EKU and is a 2015 ACHS graduate.  He is a former NASP World Champion and is continuing his archery pursuits at EKU.Coach Peyton and Coach Tom Patterson of Trigg County High School.  Coach Patterson was this year's NASP Coach of the Year.  Coach Peyton is holding the trophy the ACMS archery team won for 1st place at this year's NASP/IBO 3D National Tournament.Coach Peyton and his youngest son, Cameron (Photo by Holly Peyton)Coach Peyton at the 2015 NASP All-Star competition.Coach Peyton at a recent practice doing what he does best - teaching his archers.2015-16 ACMS archery team

When Anderson County Middle School Archery Coach, Brian Peyton, met with his team and their parents at the beginning of this season, he announced that this year would be his last as Head Archery Coach.  He also commented that since he’d been coaching, his teams had been two-time NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) World Champions and that they’d accumulated several regional and state championships along the way.

Coach Peyton then said, “We’ve not won a National Championship in my time of coaching and since it’s my last year, I’d love to be able to hang that banner before I retire.” Coach Peyton made that statement back in October of 2015.  As this year’s NASP National Tournament wrapped up on May 14, Coach Peyton finally earned that National Championship that had eluded him during his tenure as the ACMS coach.  Having already won the NASP/IBO 3D State Championship a few months back, this year’s team won the NASP/IBO 3D National Championship as well, scoring better than every middle school team competing from all across the nation.

Ten years ago, Peyton began volunteering as an Assistant Coach for the Anderson County Middle School Archery team.  His oldest son, Braden, was in 7th grade at the time and was fresh off a 33rd place finish at the previous year’s NASP National Tournament.  Peyton says he was given his first bow at the age of 13, an Indian recurve, and that he bow-hunted in high school.

Having been impressed with NASP as a parent and having been an archer for many years, he thought he’d be able to help out.  The opportunity to help took a slightly different turn shortly into Peyton’s time as an assistant coach.  As he recalls, the coach he was helping eventually approached him about taking over as head coach, and in the following season, the team was his.

Under Peyton’s guidance, Anderson County Middle School has turned Anderson County into a powerhouse in archery.  Not only is the team a former two-time World Champion, they have also racked up two straight State 3D championships and are fresh off the previously mentioned National 3D championship.

According to Coach Peyton, the team is usually on the podium.  When they haven’t been in first place, they’ve been near the top.  At the second of the World Championships, Coach Peyton recalls that his team scored a 3,333.  This score was not only enough to win the Middle School division, it was good enough to out score every high school team competing as well.  For perspective, just consider how many middle school basketball or football teams could beat their high school counterparts.

When asked about the success of Anderson County archery in general, Coach Peyton commented, “We don’t get the recognition in the county that we do elsewhere.”  In explaining this comment, Coach Peyton said, “Anderson County archers are known nationally and all over the world.”

Peyton recalled several accounts of parents of former archers who’d traveled out of state only to return saying someone they encountered knew who Anderson County was in regard to archery.  Perhaps more telling is Peyton’s recollection of an encounter with a team from South Africa at a previous World Tournament.  About that encounter, Peyton said, “Upon introducing myself and some of the team to the South African team’s coach, they told us they knew who ACMS was and how we shot.”

The respect and recognition earned over the years is not simply for the ACMS archers.  According to NASP CEO/President Roy Grimes, “Coach Peyton has set a standard of excellence that future coaches should strive to mimic.” Grimes also commented that Coach Peyton is one of the first NASP coaches he contacts when he needs a sounding board for new initiatives or changes in NASP.  Grimes also said, “He knows how to coach NASP archery, but always remembers there’s a young person behind the bow, and the person is far more important than the archery.”

Proof of Grimes’ respect for Peyton came last year when he was asked to coach a NASP National All-Star team.  When asked about this position, Peyton explained that it was a two-year term that was hand picked by Mr. Grimes.  According to Peyton, “It’s a privilege to be asked to coach the 16 best shooters of 13,000 nationally.”  He also added that there has been an Anderson County representative on these All-Star teams four out of the five years it’s been in existence, one of which was Peyton’s youngest son, Cameron – a former NASP World Champion.

By pointing out that Anderson County has had those representatives on the All-Star team, Peyton is proving Mr. Grimes’ assertion that he’s there for the kids more than the archery.  When asked about his involvement in NASP, Peyton could have easily recalled the many trophies the team has won or the opportunity to coach the All-Star team which will be traveling to South Africa next month.  Instead, he commented, “I’ve seen children with a variety of problems overcome things while on the team.” He went on to say, “That’s what’s good about the program – it helps all kids.”

Coach Peyton also doesn’t feel his responsibility is solely to Anderson County students.  He recalled a time a few years back when a young man on another team was visibly upset about how he was shooting.  Upon approaching the young man, Peyton was able to help calm him down, and this has lead to an ongoing bond that continues every time he encounters the young man at tournaments.  Upon recalling this memory, Peyton commented, “I’m blessed being a NASP coach, but we’re there to help the kids.”  Peyton’s wife, Holly, agreed and said, “It’s his mission.”

Upon being asked about his pending retirement, Peyton explained that it’s the right time.  Although he expects to volunteer as he’s available, he has some ongoing knee problems that he believes keeps him from being as effective and available to the kids as he would like to be.  Furthermore, he has less than two years until he retires from Kentucky Utilities and upon doing so intends on spending the winter months with his wife in Florida.  Upon being asked about his legacy as the ACMS Archery Coach, Coach Peyton would only say that he doesn’t want the program to go downhill.

Before transitioning into retirement, however, Coach Peyton and his ACMS archers still have one more goal.  Coming on Saturday, June 25, they will be competing at the NASP World Archery Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The team will compete in the NASP World Tournament (bullseye) and the NASP/IBO 3D World Championship.

At this point of the season, Coach Peyton loves to see the kids having fun and enjoying themselves.  Competing at World provides the opportunity to combine a competition with a vacation and thus serves as a reward of sorts for a wonderful season – a season that would be even more wonderful with a first place finish in the 3D tournament.  Should the team win, they would complete a clean sweep of this year’s NASP/IBO 3D tournaments and in doing so, would provide Coach Peyton with the perfect send-off as he transitions into retirement.

-Written and Photos by Chris Kidwell

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
Posted in School & Education, Sports.

One Comment

  1. I have known Brian and his family for many years. He is a very caring man. I am very proud to have called him a good friend and have considered him as family for a long time. I congratulate him on his success with the ACMS archery teams. My only regret is that he won’t be there to coach my grandson when he moves up to middle school archery in a couple of years. We love you, Brian! Special thanks to Holly for supporting him as coach…and for putting up with him all these years! Lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.