College coach to replace Kunau at OLu

Chuck Petersen, who has spent most of his career coaching college football, has been named the new coach at Orange Lutheran High.

Petersen, 49, was named the head football coach on Monday. Most notably, Petersen was an assistant coach/offensive coordinator at Air Force from 1990-2006. He was named the 2003 American Football Coaches Assoc., Division I Assistant Coach of the Year. He also coached at North Texas from 2007-10. He also coached at Arkansas and -- while serving in the Air Force in the 1980s -- volunteered at Choctawhatchee (Fla.) High.

"The most important thing to me was the mission here ... and the Christ-centered athletic programs," Petersen told the Orange County Register. "There's a rich tradition here, and a lot of winning that has gone on."

Petersen has a son and daughter who will be students at OLu and a wife who will teach French on campus.

"The football field is a development and leadership laboratory," said Petersen, who was offensive coordinator for seven seasons. "I take the title 'coach' extremely seriously. Our mission at Orange Lutheran through our coaching influence is to help each player maximize his spiritual, mental and physical potential. Our success will be determined by the men our players become.”

Petersen replaces Jim Kunau, who was replaced after 19 seasons and a 182-52-3 record. Only five years removed from winning a State Bowl Championship in 2006, the Lancers failed to get one of three automatic playoff qualifying berths the past two seasons while competing in the Trinity League, which is largely regarded as one of the best football leagues in the nation. OLu went 6-4 last season, 1-4 in the league.

School executive director Gregg Pinick said at season's end it was time for "a new direction" and the school launched a nationwide search. It had nearly 100 applicants for the position. Among them were Butch Goncharoff, who won guided Bellevue (Wash.) to nine state titles in 11 years.

Kunau has remained on the school staff to assist students in the recruiting process.

In Petersen, the Lancers get a coach who plans to run the option and keep defenses guessing. However, he said there will be a strong emphasis on the run.

“No one will ever replace coach Jim Kunau," Pinick said in a release. "His contributions to the Orange Lutheran community are immeasurable and we can’t thank him enough. I am extremely confident Chuck Petersen will take the baton and carry on the Lancer tradition of excellence.”