Longtime coaches inducted into Hall of Fame
Two longtime Chugiak High coaches were recently inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame.
Soccer coach Ed Blahous and hockey coach Paul Brauneis were amond the 12 inductees honored Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Sheraton in Anchorage.
Here’s a look at each man:
Blahous coached Chugiak’s boys varsity soccer team for 20 years — 18 as head coach — until retiring from the Anchorage School District in 2002.
Blahous got involved with the team in 1982 after Chugiak finished 1-9 in ASD’s inaugural soccer season.
Then football coach Larry Henry, who stepped in to serve as head soccer coach, welcomed Blahous’ knowledge of the game.
“Henry said, ‘I’ll get them in shape, you teach them how to play,’” Blahous recalled.
The Mustangs went on to win three straight state titles after Blahous joined the team. After two years as assistant, Blahous said Henry gladly handed the reigns over.
Blahous also helped Chugiak win nine Cook Inlet Conference titles and more than 30 of his players received First Team All-CIC honors.
“It was a lot of fun,” Blahous said of his time coaching.
Before he worked as the school district purchasing director, Blahous was in the U.S. Air Force. It was there that he learned the game of soccer.
The Air Force forced its students to learn to play sports they were not familiar with, Blahous said. Growing up in Chicago, Blahous said football and baseball were all he knew.
“I didn’t have a clue what soccer was all about,” he said.
Blahous, who retired from the Air Force in 1988, said he was shocked to hear of his induction into the Hall of Fame.
“When I got the phone call, it pretty much blew me away,” he said. “It was quite a surprise.
“I was very flattered and humbled by the recognition,” Blahous said.
Brauneis served as head coach of Chugiak’s varsity hockey team from 1984 to 1994. Brauneis inherited a struggling Chugiak team that was 37-229 and transformed hockey into a winning program (149-100) during his tenure.
Under Brauneis, the Mustangs won three state titles and one conference championship. Brauneis, who also served as an assistant varsity football coach from 1981 to 1998, said every team he’s coached has been unique.
“I compare it to children. They’re all different and they’re all special,” he said. “I’m very thankful for all the young men that I got to coach.”
A 1974 Chugiak graduate, Brauneis played hockey for the Mustangs and four years at UAA.
“Hockey’s pretty much been a part of my whole life,” he said.
Through hockey, Brauneis said he’s formed strong bonds over the years.
“A lot of good friendships made and a lot of lasting relationships,” he said. “A lot of good memories.”
Brauneis started working at Chugiak High in 1981 and is currently a math teacher and the school’s athletic director.
Brauneis said he was flattered by his induction into the Hall of Fame.
“It was a great honor,” he said. “A very humbling experience.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].