Strength and conditioning coach Jim Peal has a reputation among Butler faculty for successfully and efficiently shaping players for each of the school’s 19 athletic programs for the the past decade.
When Peal announced last Tuesday he had been diagnosed with colon cancer, the response was immediate.
An outpouring of support from the Butler community and those around him followed.
A Facebook page bearing the slogan “I Have Coach Peal’s Back” has already amassed over 1,000 supporters, and plans have begun to take shape for a fundraising plan in his honor.
The page’s creator, former Butler football player Peter Xander, is planning to have T-shirts available soon. The T-shirts will say “I Have Coach Peal’s Back” on the front. The phrase “Nothing Wrong with Being Strong,” a popular saying of Peal’s, will be on the back.
Freshman football player Jimmy Cook has only known Peal for a short time but said his impact on the team has been tremendous.
“I was shocked, but I know he is a strong guy, and he can definitely pull through it,” Cook said.
Peal hasn’t let his battle with cancer get in the way of his work. Cook said he still remains active with the team.
“He’s totally involved,” Cook said. We lift four days a week, and he’s there every day, on our backs, making sure we get everything done.”
Currently, wristbands stating “Pealstrong” are on sale for $5 each, with the accrued funds going to Peal or the charity of his choice.
A message posted by his wife, Susan, said she was blown away by the amount of support by those here and in the surrounding area.
“Neither Jim or I are ones for much attention, but Jim is seeing how much he means to so many people,” she said. “It is so appreciated and getting him through this. This is a wonderful community of support.”
Peal has been with the Butler athletics program since 2003, and was officially named head strength and conditioning coach in 2005.
Peal underwent a successful surgery Monday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital Friday. From there he will continue his recovery at home. There is no immediate timetable for his return.