Centralia College Athletic Director Bob Peters announces retirement 

Men’s basketball coach Joe Chirhart to step in as interim athletic director


Centralia College stalwart Bob Peters, the longest continuously serving athletic director in the state and the namesake for the new Bob Peters Field, officially retired on Tuesday, Oct. 31. 

Men’s basketball coach Joe Chirhart has been appointed interim athletic director and has been working closely with Peters since Oct. 16, Centralia College stated in a news release. 

“A retirement celebration will be held at a later date. Those details will be announced when they are finalized,” Centralia College said in a news release. 

In the meantime, Peters will continue his involvement with Centralia College and promises he will forever bleed blue and gold, Centralia College said.

“Bob has been such an amazing leader at the college for so many years and will be greatly missed,” said Robert Cox, vice president of student services. “There’s no way to express our appreciation for all of the great things Bob has done. His mentorship and role modeling for thousands of student athletes has had a profound impact on their lives.”

Peters grew up on Silver Street a block from the college and spent his childhood days sneaking into the gym and playing on Noble Field, Centralia College said in a news release. He graduated from Centralia High School in 1979 and came to Centralia College that year to play basketball and start working on his associate of arts degree. After graduating from Centralia College in 1981, he transferred to Western Washington University, where he played basketball and completed his degree in education. He wanted to teach physical education and health and coach basketball, but wasn’t sure where, according to Centralia College. He came back to Centralia and started looking for work.

After substitute teaching at local area schools for a few years, an opportunity came at Centralia College, when his former coach and Centralia College Athletic Director Bob Reimer offered him a position. He started at Centralia College in the fall of 1986 as a part-time assistant men’s basketball coach. He also taught health and physical education part-time.

Peters served as the men’s basketball assistant coach from 1986 to 1990 and even pulled double duty for a few years, coaching both the men’s and women’s teams at the same time. He was the head women’s basketball coach from 1988 to 1991. He married his wife, Shawn, in 1988. Shawn Peters has taught kindergarten and special education and is currently working as an instructional facilitator for the Centralia School District, according to Centralia College.

In 1991, Bob Peters took over as the head coach of men’s basketball and was named Centralia College athletic director. He also continued to teach health and physical education classes. Centralia College only offered four sports then, while today there are eight. 

On May 22, the new Centralia College athletics complex was officially dedicated as Bob Peters Field in honor of Bob’s contributions to Centralia College athletics.

Bob and Shawn Peters have three children, Hillary Hull, Bailey Moon and Christian Peters, and three grandchildren.

“It was the family environment that kept me here for so many years,” Bob Peters said. “I love working with kids and seeing them succeed. We provide a good experience for them and help them get on the right track. Plus, all my family is here. I always wanted to be close to my family.”

When he’s not with his family, Peters enjoys cycling and home projects.