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Coach from Creston inducted into Hall of Fame

Blazek guided Trojans for 29 seasons

Published: Sunday, March 16, 2014 11:38 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:20 p.m. CDT
Caption
(CNA photo by LARRY PETERSON)
Retired Atlantic coach Steve Blazek is congratulated during his induction into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night at halftime of the Class 4A championship game at Wells Fargo Arena. Blazek, 1970 graduate of Creston High School, is shown with his wife Tammy and grandaughters Baylea Blazek and Mackenzie Cox (right).

DES MOINES — A successful high school basketball coach from Creston who spent the bulk of his career at Hawkeye 10 Conference rival Atlantic was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night.

Steve Blazek, 1970 graduate of Creston High School, and Bob Haak of Spencer were coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame during halftime of the Class 4A championship game. Players inducted were Lloyd Thornburg of Pleasantville, Mark West of Southeast Polk, Jeff Donaldson of Sioux City North, Robbie Sieverding of Bellevue Marquette and Jeff Horner of Mason City, who was coaching West Des Moines Valley in the 4A title game against Iowa City West.

Iowa City West won that game, earning a Class 4A three-peat in the process, 57-45.

At Creston High School, Blazek lettered in four sports before playing basketball at Waldorf Junior College in Forest City before attending Northwest Missouri State University and earning his undergraduate degree in 1974.

His coaching career started at Newtown-Harris, Mo., with a three-year stint that produced a 64-20 record including a fourth-place finish in the Missouri State Tournament in 1977.

Blazek then coached Fox Valley of Milton for two seasons and had a 34-7 record before a five-year stay at Sutherland, where his teams went 79-25.

In the fall of 1984 Blazek began his teaching and coaching career in Atlantic. During 29 seasons he guided the Trojans to a 364-219 record competing in the Hawkeye 10 Conference, running his career mark to 541-271 and tying him for 20th on the all-time win list.

His Atlantic team finished third in the 2002 State Basketball Tournament in Class 3A. During his career, Blazek coached 10 conference championships and had 10 substate appearances. He was selected twice to coach in the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game.

After Saturday’s induction ceremony, Blazek said one of his primary coaching influences was his high school coach in Creston for three years.

“I would say Bill Baldwin was a big influence on me in coaching basketball,” Blazek said. “He was pretty deliberate offensively. He made sure he had the kids shooting the basketball that he wanted shooting the basketball. He had a lot of discipline.”

Another Creston connection came about in Atlantic. Rollin Dyer, a teacher and coach in Creston until Blazek’s eighth-grade year, was the athletic director in Atlantic when Blazek was hired in 1984.

“I’m sure it was probably my advantage knowing Mr. Dyer,” Blazek said. “He had a son, Bob, who was my age in school when they were in Creston.”

The point guard on Blazek’s third-place team in 2002, Alan Jenkins, is now the Trojans’ head coach as Blazek’s successor.

“I really pushed for that,” Blazek said. “He had some offers in Omaha. He’s a hard worker and will do a great job with it.”

Steve and his wife, Tammy, have raised daughters Amanda and Cortney and now live in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Record-setter

Horner’s storied prep career at Mason City, playing for his father, Bob Horner, ended in 2002, when he was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball. His senior total of 741 points is the best ever in Class 4A and his career total of 2,194 is also a 4A best.

At the University of Iowa, Horner was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and was honorable mention All-American in 2006.

The other coach inducted Saturday was longtime Spencer coach Bob Haak. Other player inductions were Lloyd Thornburg, Pleasantville; Mark West, Southeast Polk; Jeff Donaldson, Sioux City North; Robbie Sieverding, Marquette Catholic (Bellevue).

Academic honor

Nodaway Valley senior Caleb Mueller was among 28 players from all classes honored on the Academic All-State Team by the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association Friday night.

Other academic all-staters included Cole Neary of Kuemper Catholic and Tyrel Peters of Griswold.

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