In my profession I’m used to being surprised with bad news, but learning of Gerald Peyton’s passing over the weekend really stung.
There are few people in this world who were as dedicated to their jobs as Gerald Peyton. He genuinely cared about every single player or student he was responsible for. He often went the extra mile to help local youth without seeking any recognition for his efforts.
He often wasn’t afraid to show some tough love. Peyton would tell the truth, even if it wasn’t what someone wanted to hear. And it was always something they needed to hear.
No coach has taken more pride in the Yazoo City High School baseball program than Gerald Peyton.
He took over a program with neglected facilities and low expectations. Peyton put in lots of overtime to bring the fields up to his standards and totally changed the direction of the baseball program.
One thing about covering sports involving one of Peyton’s teams is that he almost wrote the stories for you. He was so excited about the games that he could recite the highlights and statistics with commentary. Sometimes he would give you so much information that it would be hard to fit it all in the space provided.
Peyton was also a great encourager off the field. He was always cooking for someone (and he was a great cook) or doing something to encourage others.
The reason that Peyton was so successful as a mentor to so many local youth is that he was so obviously sincere and because he led by example. Peyton didn’t just preach to kids about constantly striving to improve - he showed them how it was done. He recently completed advanced education while also working. He often shared his progress with those he was encouraging.
We will have a more complete story on the life of Gerald Peyton in our next edition, but there aren’t enough pages in a newspaper to fully express what Gerald Peyton meant to this community.
Coach Peyton left this world much too soon, but he leaves behind many people who will use the things they learned from him to help make this world a better place.