Peter Buck is a four-year Sacramento State football standout and academic all-star who personifies the term “student-athlete.”
His accolades include semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy, Sac State’s recipient of the NFF’s regional award and a Big Sky Conference all-academic selection each of his four seasons. He also earned second team all-Big Sky honors following his senior season, which saw him lead the team with 96 tackles while starting 10 games at linebacker.
Head Coach Marshall Sperbeck considers Buck a “great ambassador of our football program on campus and in the community.”
Joan Neide, who chairs the Kinesiology and Health Science Department and is Buck’s adviser, calls him a “scholar-warrior” who is academically inquisitive and able to problem-solve. “Peter’s a role model and mentor,” she adds, “representing what is good in people.”
The personable 21-year-old will graduate this spring. He will earn his diploma in four years despite a grueling academic and athletic schedule punctuated by a part-time job that left him little time to sleep or socialize.
Division I football is a full-time commitment. During the season, he was up at 5 a.m. and working out in the weight room for 90 minutes; followed by three hours of meetings, then to his classes; practice from 3 to 5:30 p.m.; and finally home to study. Factor in travel to away games and the obligation to stay in shape for the next season that begins early spring, and the pressure is unrelenting.
But that’s OK with Buck, whose solid value system is reflected by his family and religious grounding. His parents are teachers who emphasize the value of an education. They were equally insistent that he keep things in perspective, be it on the football field or out among his friends.
“They never let me get away with a thing,” he smiles, adding how much he respects the both of them for providing the family structure that reinforced his work ethic.
That work ethic propelled him to earn a full scholarship after proving that he could play football as a walk-on freshman, and only one of three who made the traveling squad. “I earned enough advanced-placement credits in high school to qualify as a second-semester freshman,” he says.
A kinesiology major, Buck sports a 3.51 grade-point average and plans to teach and coach at the college level. But he understands his career path is likely to involve teaching and coaching in a high school. That’s why he's taking 24 units this semester now that his football season is finished so he can complete the teacher credentialing requirement before graduation. Buck’s biggest challenge was making the transition from high school to college and balancing the accelerated demands of academics and athletics. He credits his parents, his coaches, his instructors and his faith in keeping him focused.
The self-discipline and determination that have driven him to succeed thus far appear to be in no danger of dissipating. To the contrary, he plans to get a graduate degree in sports management, teach, coach and ultimately become an athletic director. For the time being, however, Peter Buck is focused on excelling in the classroom this semester.