After four long years, Assistant Athletic Trainer Andrew Peters will be leaving his position at SPU and relocating to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where his wife, Stephanie Peters, was offered a position that was too good to turn down.
“I am now working as an Athletic Trainer with the USA Men’s Gymnastics Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs,” Stephanie Peters said. “The job is basically my dream job, and his response to the move has been very proud and supportive.”
Andrew Peters is excited to return to Colorado, where he worked as an athletic trainer at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado prior to SPU.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Peters said. “I loved my time here at SPU. It’s been a great place for me to work … I’ve developed some really good friendships and relationships with people here at SPU that I’ll definitely keep in touch with … It’s hard to leave a situation like this because I have really enjoyed it a lot. But it’s a new opportunity, and we’re excited about what’s available to us in Colorado.”
The couple met while both attending San Jose State for graduate school to earn their master’s degrees in Athletic Training. Being in the same field, both partners realize the unique demands of working in sports and have made a strong effort to support each other’s goals in the field.
“It is great to be with someone who [gets being an athletic trainer], but it has been challenging,” Stephanie Peters said. “The whole time we have been married we have still never both had traditional athletic training jobs in the same city at the same time, and this is the third time we’ve lived in different cities to pursue the jobs we want.”
As an athletic trainer, it is very difficult to attain a job at the collegiate level and above, let alone two in the same city or during the same hiring season. As a result, Peters is still on the hunt.
“I’d like to stay at the university level,” Peters said. “I’ve kind of found that this is my niche. I feel like I really enjoy the population that I get to work with, young adults in that 18-22 age range. It’s just a fun environment to be a part of, and I feel like I get to have a little bit of an influence on them as they’re kind of developing still.”
Although he did not play sports in college, the Fairfield, California native attended Point Loma University where he completed a three-year time-intensive athletic training program.
“I initially went in there thinking I wanted to go into physical therapy and I knew that athletic training was a way to get a lot of the prerequisites out of the way, but I actually didn’t know what an athletic trainer was,” Peters said. “When I was in high school, we didn’t have [a trainer] … but it sounded more fun than exercise science to me.”
“So that’s why I picked it out of the two,” Peters continued. “And I’m really glad I did because once I got to know what the actual job was, I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
The Point Loma program that Peters completed for undergrad is currently evolving into an entry-level master’s degree because of its time obligation.
Peters says being in the training program is like being an athlete because he’s in the athletic training room or off campus at another site, like a high school, three to four times a week putting in 10-20 hours a week.
“You get to work with athletes, you get to be hands on, you get to be part of the team, and use your brain in ways that I find interesting in terms of anatomy, physiology and injuries and trying to figure out the puzzle pieces of what’s actually wrong with someone,” Peters said.
The similarities of Point Loma and SPU were some of the things that initially attracted Peters to SPU.
He sought an environment that provided a balance between athletics and the holistic aspects of being a student-athlete, like academics.
Peters also felt drawn to SPU “being a faith-based institution and being able to be surrounded by a community that I know shares a lot of the same values that I do.”
Many will miss Peters’ presence on campus and think of him as a piece of SPU athletics.
Head Athletic Trainer Jason Durocher had a good sense that Peters would be a fit for the athletic program at SPU.
“He is a man of faith, and I think that he enjoys what he does. He has worked at a couple of colleges as an athletic trainer, and at the time he applied for this job he was working at the industrial setting at Boeing, Durocher said. “He seemed eager to get back into collegiate athletics, and his eagerness was apparent to me.”
“I’ve enjoyed working with [Peters],” Durocher continued. “I’ll miss him when he leaves, and I think that he provides a lot of stability for us in here. He’s just a calm, cool, level-headed person.”
Commonly known as ‘AP’ by the athletic community, Peters worked closely with the Falcon men’s soccer and basketball teams over his tenure here at SPU.
“AP was not just an athletic trainer who was in the background, he was very much a part of our team’s culture,” men’s soccer junior forward Gabe Kellum said. “He’s such a fun guy to be around; he would sometimes put his own cleats on and play with us. We always had a good time … I will miss not seeing him on the field with us during practices and games.”
Peters will depart for Colorado in July, but until then he is at work in the training room, assisting in the search for his replacement.
Fellow Assistant Athletic Trainer Erin Rutletdge says the athletic training team will experience a great loss in Peters because they functioned well together and because of the care he shows SPU athletes.
“No one can fill [Peters’] shoes; it’s Andrew, it’s AP. Job wise, yeah. Personality wise, no. Any athletic trainer can come in here and tape an ankle and do a rehab, let’s be honest,” Rutletdge said. “The intangibles of [Peters]: his kindness, his work ethic, that he’s always that even-keeled person — he always has that calm about him — that will be harder to fill. I’ll miss him.”
No one understands more than his wife how impactful Peters’ time at SPU was. Stephanie Peters considers Peters’ time at SPU one of the biggest blessings of his athletic training career.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to [Durocher] and [Rutletdge] and all the awesome coaches, staff and athletes over the years,” Stephanie Peters said. “They have been so supportive of him and us the last four years, and we couldn’t have asked for a better family to be a part of.”
She went on to say, “I feel bad that he has to leave SPU because of me because it has been a wonderful job for him, and he’s loved his time there. He has built lifelong relationships, and SPU will always be very near and dear to our hearts.”