ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska School Activities Association announces the Class of 2012 Alaska High School Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Categories include student athlete and students who participated in fine art and academic activities. Other categories include coaches, advisors/directors, administrators, officials/adjudicators and major contributors.
The Hall of Fame Inductee Bios are as follows:
Steve McSwain- (Athlete, Hockey, East Anchorage High School). McSwain was a standout hockey player in the 1980’s prior to the full development of high school hockey. While attending East High School, he scored 104 points in one season, establishing an unofficial record. He also was selected to the All-conference team. Steve McSwain was an Alaskan high school pioneer player. Raised in Alaska, he went on to compete at the University of Minnesota and on the national level. McSwain was the first Alaskan to be drafted by the NHL. He played in the United States, Europe and for the Alaska Aces. He demonstrated sportsmanship, humbleness and a positive attitude throughout his career.
Vivica Genaux - (Activities, Music, West Valley High School, Fairbanks). Genaux is a 1987 graduate of West Valley High School. During her high school career she participated in high school choir, jazz choir and Women’s ensemble. She was selected for ASAA’s All State Music Festival and the All Northwest honors. It was during high school that her voice matured and her exceptional talent was noted. Genaux was an excellent student with high standards and a great work ethic. These attributes have helped her become one of the world’s premier Mezzo Sopranos in Opera and Classical Recital. Despite her performance on the world stage, she is an Alaskan. She returns to Alaska and gives back to her community by participating in fundraisers, conducting workshops for high school students and offering free concerts to the Fairbanks Pioneer Home.
Richard Cooper - (Activities, Music, Haines High School, Haines). Cooper is a standout musician from Haines, graduating in 1984. During his high school career, he participated in band and choir. He was best known for his skills as a trombone player. He was selected as first chair in America’s Youth in Concert, toured Europe and performed in Carnegie Hall. He was also first chair trombone for 3 years in the SE Alaska Honor Band. He majored in music at UAF, toured with a band and returned to Alaska to write music. Because of his interest in fine arts, he became involved in video production. He was awarded an Emmy in 2009 for his cinematography “There’s No Place Like Nome.”
Roger Schmidt - (Activities, Music, Sitka High School, Sitka). Schmidt was an outstanding high school musician. He participated in symphonic, jazz, pep bands, brass ensemble, and trombone quartet. He was selected three times for the SE Honor Band, ASAA’s All State Band and Orchestra, and as the 1st Trombone for All State Music. He attended summer fine arts camps, was an exchange student to Austria and attended music school and college conservatory in Linz. He also found time to play soccer for Sitka High School. He later attended Oberlin College and Conservatory and earned degrees in philosophy and trombone performance. He studied music internationally in London and Austria. He won the International Coleman Competition with his trombone quartet. Currently, he is the Director of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. During his tenure the program has grown from 60 to 150 students and expanded to serve students in elementary, middle and high school. The camp has been recognized nationally, earning National Endowment for the Arts summer camp recognition and the “Coming Up Taller Award” for an After School Arts Program for youth. The camp offers over 80 classes taught by 42 professional artists in a variety of fine arts fields. Roger speared headed an effort to save the historic Sheldon Jackson College Campus. It is now home to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.
Paul Brauneis - (Coach, Hockey, Chugiak Anchorage High School, Anchorage). “Mr. Hockey” might be an appropriate moniker for Paul Brauneis. He was a standout hockey player for Chugiak High school and UAA. However, it is his contribution as a coach that warrants recognition. He returned to Chugiak High School as a math teacher and hockey coach. During his 10 year coaching career, he elevated a struggling Chugiak hockey program from 37 wins and 229 losses to 149 wins and 100 losses. Brauneis amassed 3 State Championships, one conference championship and State Coach of the year honors for three years. Brauneis also was a member of the NFHS hockey rules committee. In addition to hockey, he was part of the football coaching staff that earned conference championships for three years. Brauneis continues to help with high school athletics as the Athletic Director of Chugiak High school, Coordinator of the ASD hockey program and tournament director for ASAA State Hockey and Football.
Mike Smithers - (Coach, Swim and Dive, Ketchikan High School, Ketchikan). Smithers’ swim and dive teams dominated high school swimming during the 1970’s. He lead his teams to two Boy’s and four Girl’s State Championships. His teams had a four year dual meet win record and in 1978 and 1980 won both Boy’s and Girls’ State Championships. Coach Smithers was a tireless worker, constantly looking for the latest techniques and drills that he could bring to his swimmers. He set high standards for his athletes and expected a 100% effort each and every day. In honor of his accomplishments, the City of Ketchikan named the pool “Mike Smithers Community Pool”. Coach Smithers passed away in 1980 from leukemia.
Ed Blahous- (Coach, Soccer, Chugiak High School, Anchorage). Blahous coached soccer for 20 years at Chugiak High School, 18 years as a head coach. During his time, his teams won 9 Region 4 titles, and 3 state titles. Over 30 of his players made 1st team All Region. Blahous was considered a brilliant tactician and elevated the sport of soccer by his understanding of the game, skills and strategies. Blahous was a gracious individual that built character, work ethic and rapport with his players. He was a role model on and off the field. He served as a “father figure” to his players. He was dedicated to his own family and modeled family values. Blahous was selected as Anchorage Father of the year in 1980. He retired from the ASD and soccer coaching in 2002.
Craig Jung - (Coach, Girls Basketball, Kenai Central High School, Kenai). Jung began teaching science and coaching Girl’s basketball at Kenai Central High School in 1976. For the next 23 years, Jung pushed his teams to be the best they could be. During his coaching career he was honored four times as Region 3 Coach of the year. He was also Alaska State 4A Coach of the year in 1991. His team won the State 4A Girl’s Basketball title that year. Jung was an intense coach, quick to correct but just as quick to congratulate. His players thrived under his coaching style. He serves as a well-respected role model today. Kenai parents, students and community members admire his dedication to KCHS and it’s students. Jung retired in 1999 from the KPBSD but continues to give back to the community through volunteering to help at KCHS.
John Andrews - (Administrator, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Kenai). Andrews is often known as the detail man. His attention to the complexities of administering athletic and activity events is legendary. While Andrews served in several administrative categories, he made an important impact on high schools activities while serving as an athletic administrator at Skyview High School. He served as tournament director for 21 regional tournaments and 4 state tournaments. He was very active in professional organizations and served as a board member and secretary of the Kenai Peninsula School Activities Association, President of the Kenai Volleyball Association, Secretary/Treasure of Region 3 and received the “Golden Apple Award” for outstanding contribution to the Kenai School District by the school board in 2001. Andrews also served as a coach for 16 years and officiated volleyball for 21 years. Andrews retired from the KPBSD in 2001. He continued to lend his skills and knowledge to high school athletics as ASAA Director of Special Events retiring once again in 2010.
Jim Paxson - (Official, Basketball, Alaska). Paxson served as a basketball official for 25 years, referring over 3200 games. He was selected to officiate in 14 ASAA State Tournaments, served as the finals official 12 times, the longest streak ever recorded. Paxson is legendary. He offered clinics to high school students and officials all over the state of Alaska. Paxson served as an assigner of basketball officials for several school districts, a contract negotiator, and a mentor to coaches, players and other officials. He helped to create the system for selecting and assigning officials for the ASAA State Basketball Tournaments. Because of Andrews’ contributions, Alaska basketball programs have grown and are a testimony to his demeanor and work ethic. Andrews also was an active Little league official, served as Umpire in Chief for Alaska, officiated both the Little League and Senior League Western Regionals. Both selections are lifetime honors.
Alaska Commercial Company - (Major Contributor, Corporate Sponsor). Alaska Commercial Company began their partnership with ASAA in 1999 and has continued as a major sponsor over the past two decades. ACC has contributed financially and with volunteer hours at ASAA State events. ACC believes that ASAA provides students with an opportunity to develop students and help them reach their personal goals. They are committed to the youth of the villages and provide support for the students and teams selfishly. Recently, ACC has sponsored a new contribution during the 1A/2A State Basketball Tournament entitled “Fan of the Game”. The best fan receives a gift card to the ACC store in their community. ASAA truly appreciates the value ACC places on Alaska’s high school students.
Nordic Skiing Association - (Major Contributor). Countless Nordic Ski Club volunteer hours over the past 50 years from members and skier parents have helped create the best cross country skiing program in the country. Student athletes have an opportunity to develop a life long skill, and a level of physical training that many have chosen to continue throughout their lives. Many skiers have been successful at higher levels of national and international competition. The Nordic Ski Association is unique in that the volunteer ski officials do not get paid to time, officiate, set up the stadium or check the competitors on the course. While a contract was negotiated in the mid 1970’s, the funds are returned to enhance the program to maintain trails, upgrade timing and grooming equipment, provide coaching development and award scholarships. The Nordic Ski Association has been a major contributor to ASAA and the Anchorage Community.