Roger J. Pyper, who was a head Coach at Wasatch High School for 33 years will be named "Distinguished High School Coach" by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation on Monday, April 9, at its annual banquet in Salt Lake City.
Coach Pyper began his career as the Head Boys Tennis Coach in 1977. In his two years with the program, his team was able to claim a third place at state in its second season. In the spring of 1980, Roger was hired to re-start the baseball program after a six year hiatus. He, along with assistant Coaches Doug Hardy and Norm Kohler, built the program into a class 2A power, reaching the "Final Four'' three times. In 1988 they were runner-up at the state tournament. Coach Pyper retired as baseball coach after 15 years in 1994. He was honored as 2A "Coach of the Year'' on two occasions in 1983 and 1988. He, his assistant coaches, and players were instrumental in making baseball an integral part of the WHS athletic program.
In October of 1989, Roger took over the girls' basketball program after long time Coach Verle Tolley (Wasatch High School Hall of Fame) was injured in a fall. Pyper continued as head coach for twenty-one consecutive seasons. During that span his teams had a record of 339 wins and 177 losses. In 21 full seasons they won outright or tied for 16 region championships, all in the 3A classification. His teams won four state championships: 1995-96, 2001-02, 2007-08, and 2008-09. During his tenure at WHS, he led his team to the state tournament 16 times, placing in the top six in 14 of those years. The only place his teams have never taken was second, as they won all four championship games they played!
He has coached four 3A MVPs and one Miss Basketball for the state of Utah. Coach Pyper has had innumerable players make the 3A All-State team and many have gone on to playing careers at the next level. A number of his players have also made the Academic All-State Team, of which he is most proud. He has been voted by his fellow coaches as Region X Girls Basketball Coach of the Year eleven times; and was named 3A state Coach of the Year on four occasions. After the 2002 season he was selected as the National Federation of High School Sports Western Regional Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
Coach Pyper would especially like to thank his long-time assistant Coaches for their expertise, dedication to the team concept, loyalty and love for all the players we coached. "Sue Pyper, Marge Carlile, and Steve North were the primary reason for my success as a girls basketball coach. Without them with me every inch of the way, I would not be earning this award today!"
Coach Pyper taught in Wasatch School District for 35 years, retiring in 2012. His wife Sue taught in the district for 39 years and was instrumental in all of his coaching success.