D3 NEWS: Peth announces retirement as Head Basketball Coach at Wartburg

Dick Peth, Wartburg College’s head men’s basketball coach, announced today he will retire from his coaching position. He is the second longest tenured coach in program history and longest serving current head coach in the Athletics Department.

“I want to express my gratitude to Wartburg College, the athletic department, my fellow coaches and most importantly, our student-athletes for their unwavering support throughout my tenure,” said Peth. “It has been an incredible journey, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together.”

A member of two Hall of Fames, Peth owns a career record of 622-425, which includes a record of 401-302 since coming to Wartburg in 1997 (27 seasons). He earned his 400th victory at Wartburg this past season, and surpassed the 600 career win mark in 2021. Peth was one of two active Division III men’s basketball head coaches with at least 600 career victories in 2023-24.

Dick Peth has been the cornerstone of the Wartburg men’s basketball program for 27 years and he has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of so many young men, for whom he always exhibited a great deal of individual care and compassion,” said Wartburg’s Athletic Director, John Cochrane. “He conducted himself and his program with integrity at all times; his over 400 wins here will stand as a lasting testament to his leadership and to the depth of his commitment to our program. We certainly wish Dick and his family peace and happiness in his retirement, as we look forward to continuing to build on the foundation that he established.”             

Peth led the Knights to back-to-back conference championships in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and a record-setting fifth consecutive season of 20-plus wins in 2004-05. The 2001 and 2005 Conference Coach of the Year, he has also earned the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association’s Paul Maaske award in 2005 and 2000, and D3News Coach of the Month honors in 2001-02.

During his time in Waverly, Wartburg won three Iowa Conference championships (2000-01, 2004-05 and 2005-06) and one American Rivers Conference tournament championship (2017) and earned two NCAA Division III national tournament berths (2001 and 2017). The Orange and Black advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round in 2017.

Before coming to Wartburg, Peth was head men’s basketball coach at the University of Denver, an NCAA Division II school, where he was the winningest coach in program history with a 221-123 record in 12 years. The Pioneers produced winning seasons in each of his 12 seasons as coach, had 18+ wins in seven campaigns and 20+ wins three times. He was inducted into the University of Denver Athletics Hall of Fame on May 16, 2020.

Peth played for former University of Iowa men’s basketball coach Lute Olson from 1975 to 1979, and was team captain for the 1979 team that won the Big 10 title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also played baseball for the Hawkeyes and was a four-time letter winner.

Peth was ranked second on a list of the top 10 greatest high school players ever in the La Crosse, Wisconsin, area by the La Crosse Tribune. He was inducted into the Wisconsin High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2013.

At Wartburg, Peth has coached:

  • Conference MVPs: 2
  • All-Conference: 51
  • D3hoops.com All-Region: 4
  • NABC All-District: 5
  • All-Americans: 1

A national search for his replacement will begin immediately.


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