John Peterson is in his first year as the offensive line coach at Youngstown State. Peterson has an impressive background which features nearly 30 years of coaching at the collegiate level.
He has a vast coaching background, which includes spending seven seasons with former YSU Head Coach and current President Jim Tressel at Ohio State. He has strong Ohio ties with previous coaching stints at OSU, Akron, Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati.
Most recently he spent three seasons as the offensive line coach at Pittsburgh. The Panthers offensive line was one of the most consistent units of the team throughout his tenure with the program.
From 2015-17 he coached three NFL Draft Picks - Brian O’Neill (Minnesota), Dorian Johnson (Arizona Cardinals) and Adam Bisnowaty (New York Giants). Those three Panthers received four first-team All-ACC selections - O’Neill (2017), Bisnowaty (2015 and 2016), Johnson (2016).
In 2018, O’Neill was drafted in the second round as the No. 62 overall pick. In 2017, Johnson was drafted in the fourth round as the 115th overall selection while Bisnowaty the No. 200 pick of the draft in round six. O’Neill became Pitt’s highest offensive line NFL Draft pick dating back to 2008.
Additionally, Alex Bookser (honorable mention in 2017 and 2016), Alex Officer (honorable mention in 2017), O’Neill (second team in 2016), Bisnowaty (second team in 2016 and 2015) and Johnson (second team in 2015) also received all-conference accolades in Peterson’s three seasons.
Peterson’s 2016 offensive front earned praise as one of the finest in school history. The acclaim was well desereved. The Panthers’ offensive line keyed an attack that produced a school-record 40.9 points per game, the 10th highest scoring average in the nation. The unit also provided air-tight pass protection, surrendering only 0.77 sacks per contest (10 total) to lead the ACC and rank third nationally. Their blocking paved the way for James Conner to rush for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns. Following the year he was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Three members of Pitt’s offensive front were named All-ACC at season’s end: guard Dorian Johnson and tackles Adam Bisnowaty and Brian O’Neill. Moreover, Johnson became the first Pitt offensive lineman since 1994 to earn first-team All-America status.
Under Peterson’s influence, the Panthers were semifinalists in two of his seasons for the Joe Moore Award, which is presented to college football’s top offensive line and named after the legendary Pitt offensive line coach.
Prior to spending three years at Pitt, he served as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Akron under Terry Bowden in 2014.
Peterson had a highly successful eight-year tenure under Tressel at Ohio State (2004-11), when the Buckeyes won or shared six consecutive Big Ten titles. At OSU he was tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Peterson would help the Buckeyes compile an eight-year record of 80-22 (.784) and make two appearances in the BCS Championship Game (2006 and 2007).
With Peterson overseeing the program’s recruiting efforts, Ohio State had seven classes rated among the nation’s top 15, including top 5 classes in 2008 and 2009. Peterson’s other coaching stop was at UAB for two seasons (2012-13). Under his watch, offensive tackle Chris Hubbard was a first-team All-Conference USA performer.
From 1999-2003, Peterson oversaw the offensive line at Miami of Ohio and was appointed the RedHawks’ run game coordinator in 2001. In 2003, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the RedHawks stormed to a 13-1 record, capturing the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship and defeating nationally-ranked Louisville in the GMAC Bowl to finish No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. Peterson’s offensive line was a vital part of an offense that averaged 501 yards and 43 points per contest.
Peterson earned his first full-time coaching post at Akron as offensive line coach from 1995-98. His 1997 unit fueled the country’s No. 11 rushing attack and surrendered just 10 sacks.
He was an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes from 1987-90 where he was a teammate of Head Coach Bo Pelini. Peterson played under a pair of College Hall of Fame coaches at Ohio State in Earle Bruce and John Cooper. As a senior starting guard, he helped pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Robert Smith.
Following his 1991 graduation, Peterson served in a pair of graduate assistantships at Cincinnati (1991-92) and Ohio State (1993-94). In returning to the Buckeyes, he had the opportunity to work with offensive tackle Orlando Pace, a two-time winner of the prestigious Lombardi Award who went on to a decorated 13-year career in the NFL. Pace was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Peterson and his wife, Michelle, have two sons, Austin and Cole. Cole is an undergraduate assistant on the football staff.