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General History Section
Peyton Stovall returns to Lafayette Jeff as athletic director
August 10, 2013Lafayette Jefferson High School
Even as his playing career at Lafayette Jeff wound down, Peyton Stovall foresaw a future in Broncho athletics.
“He used to go by my office and he’d say, ‘Someday I’m going to be sitting in your seat, Mr. Denney,’ ” former Jeff athletic director Maurie Denney recalled.
Stovall didn’t expect that prediction to come true only a decade after his graduation from Lafayette Jeff. But on Thursday, the Lafayette School Corporation Board of School Trustees approved Stovall as the school’s athletic director.
Stovall succeeds Mark Preston, who was promoted to Lafayette Jeff principal last month. The former Broncho basketball standout, who later played at Ball State, spent the past three years at Evansville North, including the last two as athletic director.
“For so long, I remembered what Lafayette Jeff and the school corporation gave to me and what they did for me, to help mold who I am today,” said Stovall, who was congratulated after the meeting by several of his former teachers and coaches, some of whom he will now oversee as athletic director.
“I’m going to be able to give back to the community and to the school and to those teachers and administrators who helped me become who I am today. To be able to come back and do that is certainly a blessing, and to be part of the Lafayette School Corp. family again — it leaves me speechless.”
Stovall was an Indiana All-Star in 2003 after averaging 22.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He scored 1,074 career points and was a two-time All-North Central Conference selection.
Scot Bunnell recruited Stovall away from Lafayette, convincing the guard to join the Ball State basketball program after his breakthrough junior season carried into a successful summer.
Ironically, Bunnell left Ball State two years later to become the Bronchos’ boys basketball coach. When he left for Evansville North in 2010 and needed an assistant coach, he again recruited Stovall.
“He is as good a communicator and as good at building relationships as anyone I’ve been around at any level,” Bunnell said. “One thing Lafayette Jeff is going to get, it’s going to get a young guy who’s passionate about what he does and really will take an interest in all the kids in that school, not just the athletes.
“I saw it every day at Evansville North. It was not just the athletes who wanted to be around him ... it was the whole student body, and he related to all those kids.”
The 28-year-old Stovall was the second-youngest athletic director in the state when Evansville North promoted him in 2011. Bunnell said Stovall quickly made an impression on the department in many facets, including fundraising.
Stovall served as an intern with the Indianapolis Indians and the NCAA National Headquarters while at Ball State.
“He was a great leader on the floor,” said Preston, who was a Jeff basketball assistant during Stovall’s playing days. “The way in which he was raised and the values he was given by his parents, the leadership of his older brother, Prentice — all of those things combined made him a great individual and a great people person. He had all the skills necessary to be successful in whatever he chose to do in life.”
Stovall said his favorite Lafayette Jeff memory is feeding Dustin Keller for a game-changing slam dunk against Richmond at Crawley Center. He’ll now oversee Jeff’s return to the North Central Conference and the resumption of those rivalries.
Stovall may have been away for the past decade, but Lafayette Jeff was never far from his heart.
“I still have my letter jacket in my closet at home,” Stovall said. “Every time I open that closet up and I see that, I still remember those times and those relationships I built with coaches and friends and the community.
“I felt like Lafayette Jeff was pulling me back, and I wanted to be back home so bad. I’m excited that I’ve been given this opportunity.”