FAIRBANKS — Brian Pepper has been promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position with the Alaska Nanooks cross country and ski program after the departure of assistant coach Matt Dunlap following the completion of the cross country season in late October.
Dunlap, who served as ski assistant coach for four years and cross country assistant for the past three seasons, resigned to pursue other career opportunities in the Lower 48, according to a university press release.
“Matt Dunlap left large shoes to fill and I am confident that Bryan will pick up where Matt left off,” head coach Scott Jerome said. “I am very pleased that he accepted the position.”
Pepper spent the 2011-12 Nordic Ski season shadowing Jerome and Dunlap in practices, training, waxing and other administrative duties. He traveled with the team to assist with wax testing and other race-related duties.
“Serving as our intern last year, Bryan quickly became an integral part of our coaching staff and team,” Jerome said. “He possesses a wide knowledge of ski technique, waxing, and training and the student-athletes are the largest beneficiaries of Bryan’s fine work. He makes our program better for all.”
A native of Old Forge, N.Y., Pepper came to the Nanooks after graduating from St. Lawrence University in 2010 with a degree in geology.
Pepper was a three-year member of the Saints’ Nordic ski team and spent his senior year as a student assistant for the program.
He was the recipient of the Augsbury/North Country Scholar academic scholarship at St. Lawrence.
Before joining the Saints’ ski program, he was a six-year member of the Mid-Atlantic Junior National Team and competed at Junior Nationals from 2003-2008.
A multi-sport athlete in high school, Pepper participated cross country, track, soccer, baseball and skiing for the Town of Webb High School Eskimos in Old Forge.
The Nanooks opened the season by winning the Alaska Nordic Cup against the University of Alaska Anchorage earlier this month at Birch Hill. The Nanooks lead the all-time series 6-2-1.
The Nanooks return to action Jan. 2-8 at the U.S. Nordic National Championships in Midway, Utah.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.