Caldwell High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Bob Peterson
Years as Head Coach: 2nd season
Previous Experience: 13 years as assistant at three different schools in Arizona
Record Last Year: 1-19
State Titles: None
Written by: Chris Langrill
Caldwell boys basketball coach Bob Peterson is hoping for a season of progress.
He wants the Cougars to make some strides in his second year as head coach of the Cougars.
And he's optimistic that Caldwell can do just that after going 1-19 last season.
“We really had no offseason last year,” Peterson said. “I got the job in late June. … But this last summer ... we had time to work and put some stuff in. So, we're further ahead this season.”
Peterson spent 13 years as an assistant coach at three different schools in Arizona. After taking the job last year, he realized that turning the Caldwell program around wouldn't happen overnight. After all, the Cougars haven't had a winning season since 1998.
“I kept a lot of kids at the JV level,” Peterson said.
His hope was those players would get more playing experience that way.
“I just tried to build so we could be more competitive this year, rather than pulling up those kids as sophomores,” he said.
As a result: “We've got eight guys on the varsity team who are brand new,” Peterson said.
So it's clear that this is a team that has plenty of room to grow.
“We have nine guys who are going to play a lot, and seven of them are underclassmen, including a sophomore,” Peterson said. “So we're pretty young.”
And that young team is trying to find each player's role.
“Right now, we're just trying to fill in spots,” Peterson said. “I'm still trying to figure out where our guys are going to be.”
Still, Peterson thinks his team is headed in the right direction.
“I think we're a lot better than we were last year at this stage,” he said.
Despite all the youth, Peterson has three players who have some experience at the varsity level: Austin Van Horne, Manny Guerrero and Forrest Smith.
Van Horne played quarterback for the football team and is a starting pitcher on the baseball team. He is likely the best athlete on the Caldwell High campus.
“He's a good athlete and a real competitor,” Peterson said.
Given the Cougars' early-season schedule, Caldwell, a 4A Southern Idaho Conference school, will need everybody on the roster to compete at their highest level to try to stay in games.
“We're going to play three of the best 5A teams right off the bat,” Peterson said.
That includes opening with a game against Borah, a team that went to the 5A state championship game last season.
“The schedule-makers sure didn't do us any favors,” Peterson said. “But if you want to get better, you have to play the best.”
And showing signs of improvement is the main goal for Caldwell this season.
“We just want to be more competitive and get better than we were last year,” Peterson said.