Peffle: Frankford in good hands
The longtime coach has deep roots at the school he'll be leaving in June.
Bob Peffle has had more than his share of great coaches to model himself after.
But when it came time to single out a few, the Frankford coach chose his first two - Stan and Margaret Peffle.
"I learned a lot just by following my parents' lead," Peffle said. "They were both educators and were the perfect role models."
After 34 years at Frankford, Peffle - a math and physical-education teacher - has decided this will be his last, and he will retire in June. For the last 19 years, he has guided Pioneers baseball. For 22 years, he was at the helm of the wrestling team.
He informed his players - some of whom play both sports - of his decision last week.
"It was very difficult telling them," Peffle said. "The players are great young men. But I feel like I'm leaving them and the programs in great hands."
Peffle, 60, said he expected assistant coach Juan Namnun to assume the baseball post. In October, Peffle stepped down as the wrestling coach, and Chris Vincente, who filled in the previous season while Peffle underwent hip-replacement surgery, took over. But Vincente couldn't continue because of job responsibilities, so Peffle jumped back in, leading the Pioneers to their 11th straight Public League championship.
This time, he says he's done at Frankford, a school he and his family have had close ties to for more than 80 years.
"My entire family is rooted in Frankford, starting with my father, who was a 1930 graduate," Peffle said. "My mother may have gone to Girls' High, but she taught at Frankford for 20 years."
Stan Peffle taught and coached football at Central for years before becoming the director of physical and health education for the School District of Philadelphia. He retired in 1988 and died two years ago this month.
"I still hear his words," Peffle said. "And I told him I'll know when it's time."
Peffle isn't quitting coaching cold turkey. He'll still run soccer at La Salle, where he has won five Catholic League titles, including the last two. And the former Frankford (Class of 1965) and Temple three-sport star (baseball, soccer and golf) expects to up his rounds of 18 holes.
"Doing three very intense sports throughout the school year, quite frankly, began to wear on me," Peffle said. "And I really don't know how many years the good Lord is going to give me."
Aside from his parents, Peffle did pay particular homage to Walter Bahr, his soccer coach at Frankford, and former longtime Temple baseball coach Skip Wilson.
"I wear No. 6 because of Skip," Peffle said. "I've told him that."
Namnun said Frankford planned to honor Peffle at 10 a.m. May 19 at Frankford Stadium.
. Opposing pitchers, take note: Phil Gosselin feasts on golden arms.
Not that the Malvern Prep shortstop minds facing a junk-ball hurler.
"I'm just looking at getting at-bats," said Gosselin, headed to Virginia on a scholarship. "Every time you're on the field, you're getting better, no matter if the pitcher is throwing 90 or 70 [m.p.h.]."
It's against the top talent, though, that Gosselin usually shows his stuff. On Saturday in the Tom Heinkel Tournament, Gosselin slammed a pair of two-run home runs in the semifinals and finals against two of the better South Jersey teams, Bishop Eustace and St. Augustine.
"Phil's the type of kid that hits better against better pitching because he played at such a high level this summer," said Malvern coach Mike Hickey.
During the summer, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Gosselin was drawing attention from major-league scouts. The interest has faded some, but Gosselin appears college-bound no matter what.
"He's got a 4.0 [GPA] and 1,400 on his SATs," Hickey said. "I think he's going to UVa. with the intentions of graduating."
Gosselin will room with Germantown Academy outfielder/pitcher John Barr at Virginia. The two future teammates, though, have two games left against each other - and two potential chances to face off - in the competitive Inter-Ac League.
"We talk almost every day," Gosselin said. "I'm still going to try to get hits off him."