Aurora Central hires Peeples as new football coach

Greeley West players gather around coach Jason Renouf, left, and offensive coordinator Travis Peeples, center, after practice on Monday. (Martin B. Hamilton/CHSAANow.com)

Travis Peeples, center, is the new football coach at Aurora Central. (Martin B. Hamilton/CHSAANow.com)

AURORA — Aurora Central has hired Travis Peeples as its next football coach, athletic director Dan Lliteras said on Thursday.

Peeples had been the offensive at Greeley West, where he helped turn the Spartans around from 1-9 in 2013 to 8-3 last season.

"We're really getting our whole program developed from bottom to top," Lliteras said Thursday at the CHSAA office. "We've got a big, big chore ahead of us."

Peeples emerged from a group of 25 candidates, including 10 finalists, Lliteras said.

"I think probably what brought us to him more than anything was his preparedness," Lliteras said. "He knew more about us than some of my interview committee people did. Very well prepared. Really focuses on the details. Understands how to establish a program, not just, 'I'm the varsity coach.'

"He really is genuinely concerned with, 'How are we going to develop a full-blown program, top-to-bottom?' That's one of my big, big pet peeves. If you're coming in here to just focus and get radar vision on a varsity level, you probably aren't going to last with me very long. ... He had a plan in place for the whole thing."

Peeples replaces Taylor Calvert, who was left go after three seasons as coach. Calvert was 6-24 during his time leading the program, including 2-8 in 2014.

At Greeley West, Peeples' offense was primarily a rushing attack, though quarterback AJ Lopez did throw 11 touchdowns last season.

Peeples has decades of other experience as an assistant elsewhere, including in Florida. He played college football and was a quarterback.

"He's been around the game his whole life. That's all he's done is football, football, football," Lliteras said. "He really brings a lot of experience to the table with what we need to get done."

Aurora Central is currently playing as a Class 4A program despite an enrollment of 2,198 students. The Trojans dropped down a class due to an inability to compete prior to last season.

Since the start of the 2008 season, Aurora Central is 10-59, and hasn't won more than two games in a single year. The program's last winning season came in 2007, when it went 7-3.

Lliteras' expectation, along with developing what he calls a "full linear program," is that the team regain its spot in 5A.

"We've got a ton of kids," he said. "If you walk into Aurora Central and walk down our halls, there's about 2,000 kids in the building. About every tenth kid you walk by is 6-2, 240. Every other kid you walk by has no idea why he's not playing football.

"I've got enough kids in building, if we can get these kids on the right page and get them going forward, we've got a lot of potential sitting in that building. It's a diamond in the rough. All we've got to do is get going in the right direction. That's my expectation of him is to get this program headed uphill so we can get where we need to go, get back to the 5A level."

The hope is to return to 5A as soon as possible.

"The goal is to compete with your peers and all the other schools in our conference are 5A schools and here we are playing 4A football," Lliteras said. "To me, that's unacceptable. But it's what we have to do to get competitive and to rebuild our program. That's what we're going to do.

"We've got one more year in that cycle, and then my hope is we're back up to 5A again. I'm going to petition for that. I've got a meeting with (Peeples, on Thursday) afternoon, and that's part of that meeting.

"We're off to the races."

Peeples becomes the latest hire this offseason. Follow all of the coaching movement in our tracker.