WCU football community suffers heartbreaking loss

The WCU football community suffered an emotional loss at the beginning of this season. On Aug. 18, 2021, Western Carolina offensive line coach John Peacock unexpectedly died of COVID-19 complications at home. 

Peacock joined Western Carolina’s coaching staff in the spring of 2020 after the hiring of new head coach Kerwin Bell. Peacock had an illustrious career as a coach and was said to have touched the lives of any player or person he came across. Many of his colleagues and players said that Peacock was always very upbeat and an incredibly hard worker on and off the football field.

Peacock got his start at Valdosta State University, where he served as the tight end and running back coach under current WCU head coach Kerwin Bell. The dynamic coaching duo led Valdosta State to an undefeated 14-0 season and an NCAA Division II championship in 2018, winning a very in

Coach John Peacock is remembered for his hardworking, kind spirit and love for the game.
Photo credit: WCU Twitter

tense championship game 49-47 against Ferris State. 

With his resume upgraded, Peacock was then hired by Tusculum University as their assistant coach, recruiting coordinator, offensive line coach, and running game coordinator for the 2020 season. Peacock helped lead the Pioneers to a 4-1 season, only playing five games due to a COVID-19 shortened schedule. With Peacock having great success in the Division II scene, it was only a matter of time before a Division I school took notice. 

In the spring of 2021, head coach Kerwin Bell was hired by Western Carolina University after a disappointing 2020 season. Bell quickly added Peacock to his staff due to their previous success together. 

Peacock was one of the biggest motivators for the Catamount team, pushing players each and every day

to do their best, making them better players and individuals as a whole. 

The passing of Coach John Peacock is sure to cause a heavy heart for the Catamount players, staff, and fan base for years to come. The potential for what Peacock could do with the team was limitless and is now sadly never going to come to fruition. 

A moment of silence was held at Western Carolina’s first home game on Sept. 4 against Eastern Kentucky. The Western Carolina University flag was at half staff the entire duration of the game. While Coach John Peacock is sadly no longer with us, his legacy as a coach and person will live on in the hearts of the WCU football community for many years to come.