From Desert Storm to the Tennis Courts of West Point: “You Make a Decision, You Don’t Realize Where It Takes You”

Paul Peck


Army Women’s Tennis Coach, Paul Peck took an unconventional path to arrive at his current profession. As a young man, growing up in Chicago, he excelled at many sports before finally settling on tennis and playing in high school and college. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he entered the work force. Failing to find fulfillment working a 9-5 job, he enlisted in the Army and contracted for Officer Candidate School as a means of paying off his college debt and guaranteeing a Master’s Degree. His first duty assignment was Germany, where he was assigned to an 8 inch Artillery Battery. He trained to fight the Soviets and witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Upon returning to the United States he was again assigned to the last Regular Army 8 inch self-propelled howitzer unit. The day after he was promoted to Captain, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and his unit immediately made preparations to deploy. A month after he made Captain, he was placed in command of an artillery battery and was enroute to the Persian Gulf. Before the conventional ground war started, he participated in artillery raids. Once the ground war started, his battery followed the advance and provided support to the rapidly advancing coalition forces. After returning from the war, he applied to teach in the Department of Physical Education at West Point and received his Masters from the University of Illinois. While teaching in DPE, he returned to the sport he loved, and helped out as an Officer Representative and an Assistant Coach on the Women’s Tennis Team. Coach Peck was a perfect fit for the Women’s Tennis Program, and shortly after pinning on Major’s rank, he resigned from the Army and accepted a civilian job as the Women’s Tennis Head Coach. He has been coaching at West Point since 1995. In 2012, he received the Mike Krzyzewski Teaching Character Through Sport Award.


name Paul Peck
institution University of Illinois
graduation year 1984 1994
service Field Artillery
unit A Battery, 5th Battalion, 18th Field Artillery
service dates 1985 1997