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Go-to guy to many, coach to all
Go-to guy to many, coach to all
By SUE REID
For more than 25 years, Solon resident E. David Peleg has played a number of roles in the city’s recreation department. He began in sports programming and as head of the concession stands at the log cabin in the Community Park.
For the past eight years, Mr. Peleg has served as banquet and programs manager at the Solon Community Center. Earlier, he worked as a camp counselor and tennis instructor while a student at Solon High School.
To co-workers and supervisors, he is the consummate “go-to guy,” always dependable and ready to lend a hand wherever it’s needed.
To just about everyone, he’s “coach.” Who calls him coach?
“The question is, ‘Who doesn’t?’” Mr. Peleg said with a laugh.
The nickname, which he earned at Solon High School prior to graduation in 1983, came about in a couple ways.
“The nickname goes back to probably my junior year in high school,” Mr. Peleg said. “Not many people could pronounce my birth name, which was Eyal. From there, there were a ton of variations, and I got nicknames left and right.”
When he became involved in sports, coaching and playing, “coach” suddenly stuck.
“No one knows me by my real name,” he said.
On Monday, Mr. Peleg began coaching soccer at Solon Middle School as he has for the past 13 years. He also was co-coach for boys junior variety tennis and coordinates the Solon High School basketball intramurals.
Mr. Peleg is the public address announcer for soccer and girls basketball, and is a back-up for boys basketball as well. He is official scorekeeper for girls and boys home basketball games and is in charge of the scorebook for the girls team when it is on the road. Prior to coaching in Solon, he coached junior varsity golf at Chagrin Falls High School.
With Monday’s practice, he will be full-steam ahead until early May when the seasons end. “I love every moment of it. It’s so much fun.”
Coaches get the opportunity to help develop tomorrow’s leaders, Mr. Peleg said, adding that what makes a “good coach” is someone who has a love and passion for the sport and a dedication and commitment to the participants.
“You have to have a full commitment because you’re really an extension for them, and you want to be a positive role model to them also,” he said.
Mr. Peleg has worked alongside some “fantastic coaches” at Solon and Chagrin who have been role models to him as well.
“I see how they act,” he said, “and that rubs off on me.”
Mark McGuire, Solon High School’s director of athletics, said Mr. Peleg is a “tremendous resource” for him when he began in his role five years ago.
“He is always there for any question I had or any help I needed,” Mr. McGuire said.
In addition to his role coaching some of the sports teams, Mr. Peleg is invaluable in his role as managing various athletic events at the school, Mr. McGuire said.
Donald W. Holub, Solon’s director of recreation, said Mr. Peleg is “always there.”
“He’s very dependable,” Mr. Holub said. “Anytime you need anything, he is always willing to step up to the plate. That goes for the schools and for us.”
At the Community Center, Mr. Peleg manages the banquets, which includes everything from meeting with potential clients through working with them in the contract process and at the program itself. In a given year, that amounts to more than 1,300 events. On many weekends, Mr. Peleg can have 10 events in a day.
A California native who graduated from Kent State University and received his master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, Mr. Peleg likes to attend professional sporting events in his spare time. He said his family is his greatest passion and “most important part of my life.”
Mr. Peleg considers himself a fair coach and tries to give everyone an opportunity to play. Athletes have to earn the playing time, he said, because it’s not guaranteed.
“I had coach tell me once, ‘I don’t care if you win a single game. Your responsibility is to teach the kids the game and develop them,’” he recalled. “I coach great kids, and they have great parents. We have fun, but we are also serious.”
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