LAFAYETTE, Ga. (WDEF) — LaFayette coach Hank Peppers could make coffee nervous. His intensity has helped the Ramblers make their fourth straight state tournament.
“He’s crazy, I’ll tell you that,” sophomore point guard Jaylon Ramsey said.
Coach Hank Peppers is not a presence easily ignored on the LaFayette sideline.
“How do you think his energy kind of intimidates the other team?”
“Probably the way he stomps his foot on the sideline,” Ramsey said. “He stomps his foot on the sideline and just yells.”
“A lot of times I wonder what the fans from other teams think about him,” assistant coach Jesse Peppers said. “They’re probably like, ‘This guy is on a tirade.’ But we’ve been at it so long, I don’t think we even get phased by it anymore.”
“You know, I’m a very competitive person, and I’m intense,” Coach Peppers said. “It’s a lot of fun. My guys can imitate me.”
This isn’t something new for those that have known Peppers.
“He used to be worse actually. He’s mellowed with age,” said Jesse Peppers, who is also Coach Peppers’ younger brother.
It’s that intensity that’s helped propel the Ramblers to four straight seasons with 20 or more wins.
“It gives us a lot of energy. It helps us play way better,” Ramsey said. “It helps us play way better throughout the game.”
“To see your coach want to win that bad, for him to be willing to do anything and everything, that makes you want to do it more as a player,” senior guard Isaiah Harris said.
“It shows them I’m passionate, and it’s kind of contagious because I’ve got some guys that are work horses,” Coach Peppers said. “A great friend of mine and one of my coaching mentors Tommy Swanson he always would say, ‘A team takes on the identity of the coach.’ I try to let them know with my actions that I’m working hard.”
“The thing about Hank, he really understands the kids at LaFayette High School. They’re probably different than the kids at most places so him having that energy, but also toning it back and understanding what it takes to keep them focused goes a long way. Not everybody can do it,” Jesse Peppers said. “This team this year, the success we’ve had, if a different person was coaching them, I don’t think they would be as successful.”
Ramblers host Oconee County in the first round of the state tournament, Saturday at 6 p.m.