The Packers have announced that John Blaha of Sparta High School in Sparta, Wis., has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week. Blaha, in his fourth year as the varsity head coach of Sparta, led the Spartans to an 18-13 victory over the La Crosse Logan High School Rangers on Friday, Sept. 9, at Sparta Memorial Park Football Field. This is the first time the Spartans have started 4-0 since 1992. Sparta will now travel to Tomah, Wis., to take on the Tomah High School Timberwolves.
"This was the first time in a long time that we had the resiliency as a team to come from behind and beat a really good team," said Blaha. "It was a nice showing by our seniors to be able to come together when there was some adversity and defeat the three-time defending conference champion in Logan.
"This is a program and community award. It may be in my name, but it's the assistants we have, our booster club and community support that all go into this award."
Blaha grew up in Blair, Wis. He attended then-Blair High School, where he played football for his father, Coach Gerald Blaha, and also participated in baseball, wrestling and golf. Following his graduation from Blair High School in 1986, Blaha went on to receive his bachelor's degree from UW-Stevens Point in 1990. He then continued his education at UW-La Crosse, where he received his master's degree, followed by an administrative certification from Viterbo University in La Crosse.
Blaha began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Sparta in 1996, and also spent one year as an assistant coach at Blair-Taylor High School. In 2013, Blaha became the head coach of the Spartans. In addition to coaching, Blaha is a science teacher at Sparta High School and is a lieutenant colonel in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
Blaha and his staff oversee a program of 86 players, including 61 players that suit up for the varsity games. His assistant staff includes Mike Jones, Larry Noll, Josh Lydon, Nick Kingeter, Casey Olson, Jordan Laufenberg, Al Ask and Adam Dow.
Blaha and his wife, Mary, have five daughters: Heidi, Madelyn, Kirsten, Caroline and Anna.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Packers will recognize one outstanding high school coach as their 'Coach of the Week' winner during the 2016 high school football season. Winners are awarded several items and privileges, including a $1,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL Foundation, as well as recognition of the award on Packers.com, Wissports.net and Wifca.org.
Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Youth Football Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.
Top Row L/R: Mike Jones, Josh Lydon, Casey Olson, Jordan Laufenberg, Adam Dow
Bottom row L/R: Larry Noll, Nick Kingeter, John Blaha, Al Ask