After 20 years of coaching football at Vista Murrieta High School, Head Coach Eric Peterson announced Tuesday, Nov. 15, that he is stepping down from his role. Peterson took over the program in 2018, after David Olsen stepped down, He helped the Broncos, and their families, not only try to keep a winning tradition alive, but also helped them migrate through the COVID-19 years.

Olsen took over after Vista Murrieta’s long-time, and only coach since the school opened, Coley Candaele resigned in 2015. Peterson stayed on staff through the Olsen years, ultimately taking over when he felt the time was right.

Vista Murrieta’s head football coach Eric Peterson announced he is resigning after 20 years of coaching for the Broncos. Valley News/Sarah Files photo

As head coach, Peterson led the Broncos to two Southwestern League Championships and four CIF Playoff appearances. During his overall time with the Vista Murrieta football program, Peterson saw the Broncos take home one CIF Championship (2011), win 13 Southwestern League Championships, make it to the CIF Finals seven times and helped guide the team to 18 CIF Southern Section playoff appearances.

Despite Vista Murrieta making it to the postseason this year, in the newly formed BIG West Upper Division, they also posted a below .500 season (5-6). As a program they haven’t had a losing season since their opening year in 2004-05 when they went 4-6.

In a letter to the program, Peterson cited the desire to spend more time with his family as one of the major reasons he was calling it quits. The full letter is posted below:

Dear Bronco football families,

Twenty years of coaching at VMHS has flown by and what seems like a blink of an eye! It has afforded me the opportunity to be part of some extremely rewarding experiences. I have worked with gifted student-athletes, coached with great staffs, and walked alongside the best parents a coach could ever ask for. It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to serve in this capacity. At this time, I am stepping away from coaching to spend more time with my family.

The program has tremendous athletes, parents, and community support moving forward. The administration is working on a transition plan to hire a great new head coach to lead the program. I remain committed to the continued success of all Broncos and am available to provide any support that is needed.

Thank you for all of your assistance, care, and support of the program.

Blessings to you all and Go Broncos!

Former Vista Murrieta High School head football coach, Eric Peterson. Valley News/Butch Owens photo

“I want to thank Coach Peterson for his dedication to our Bronco family,” says Vista Murrieta Athletic Director, Carl Galloway. “He was instrumental in successfully guiding and growing our football program through COVID. His leadership, motivation, and collaboration helped fostered a winning program.”

Galloway also says the search for a new head coach will take place in the coming months, with hopes to have something finalized shortly after the new year, if not before.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at