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Howard "Hap" Peterson

Noseguard —  1979-1980


Howard (Hap) Peterson was born in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and moved to Bettendorf at the age of ten.  An avid youth growing up, history would later prove that his relocation from Illinois to Iowa was a significant one, for Peterson later became a vital member on the 1980 squad that began the modern-day ascent of the BHS Football program.

A two-sport athlete in football and wrestling, Peterson specialized in the takedown regardless of whether it was a running back or fellow heavyweight contender.  As well, he was a true student of the both sports and cites high school coaches John Lavelle, Randy Scott, Paul Castro, Frank Freeman, Gary Hirsch, and Ron Eggers as the coaches who mentored him throughout his high school career.

Peterson—humble despite all of his accomplishments—also feels that much of his success derived from the fact that he grew up with some extremely competitive friends:  Wayne Perkins, Jeff Stelk, Al Tudeen, Tom Roberts, Randy Holcomb, John Slavens, Todd Uhde, and Steve Reindell (to name but a few of the great players in BHS history).  However, it was from his mentor-coaches who taught him what many Bulldog players have eventually discovered:  "Winning is a process, not an event, and it is a process you have to learn to perfect."

Elected co-captain by his teammates, Peterson calls this "one of the greatest honors I received as a Bulldog" along with his being named as a 1st Team All-State defensive lineman.  As a senior, Peterson helped lead the Bulldogs to an 11-1 record and a 2nd place finish in Class 4A; while his greatest sports thrill was watching fellow teammate Wayne Perkins block a Dubuque Hempstead field goal attempt in overtime play that allowed the Bulldogs to advance to the Semifinals, his worst experience was losing to the Newton Cardinals in the championship game.  However, as a wrestler, Hap did become a state champion when he won the Class 3A Heavyweight Division as a senior while finishing the season with a 30-0 record.

Successful in two different venues, Peterson chose football and signed with the up-and-coming Iowa Hawkeyes led by legendary coach Hayden Fry; the process of winning—and success—that Peterson had learned as a Bulldog was also utilized as a Hawkeye:  during his senior year at Iowa in 1985, Peterson was not only elected as a co-captain by his teammates, but also earned 1st Team All-Big 10 honors as a noseguard for the Hawkeyes who finished the season with a 10-2 record after winning the Big 10 Conference and playing in the Rose Bowl.  Peterson also earned Honorable Mention All-American Honors by the Associated Press.

Peterson was the first Bulldog player to be inducted into the Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame on Friday, November 17, 1995, but considers his greatest life accomplishment is his marriage to his wife, Barb, and their four children. Peterson currently resides in Iowa City where he is a Regional Manager for Advanced Bionics Corporation.