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FACES IN THE CROWD
Edited by ALEXANDRA FENWICK
December 19, 2011
J.T. CURTIS
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December 19, 2011

Faces In The Crowd

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J.T. CURTIS

RIVER RIDGE, LA. > FOOTBALL

Curtis, 65, the headmaster at John Curtis Christian School, guided the Patriots to a state-record 24 titles with a 33--3 victory over Winnfield in the 2A championship at the Superdome. The son of the school's founder, Curtis took over the football progam in 1969. In October he became only the second high school football coach to reach 500 wins. The second-winningest football coach, behind John McKissick of Summerville (S.C.), he engineered an undefeated season, for a 506-54-6 career record.

RENE PARAGAS

SANTA CLARITA, CALIF. > CROSS-COUNTRY

Paragas, 35, a 10th-grade history teacher at Saugus High, coached the Centurion girls to a sixth straight state Division II title. All five Saugus scorers finished in the top 20 at Fresno's Woodward Park for an overall team mark of 1:31.52, the fastest among all divisions. No cross-country team in California had previously won six straight titles, in any division or gender. In his eighth year of coaching, Paragas, the district teacher of the year, also led the program to its sixth straight nationals appearance.

PAT BAALMANN

HERINGTON, KANS. > FOOTBALL

Baalmann, 30, a first-time assistant, was thrust into helming Herington High after coach Bud Peterson, 61, died from pneumonia complications in a Wichita hospital during the team's second game. After Baalmann announced Peterson's death at halftime, the Railers rallied from a 10--0 deficit to a 21--10 win over West Franklin. Peterson had coached the team to a season-opening victory to end a 17-game losing streak. Baalmann went on to guide them to a 5--4 record, their best in nine years.

WENDY WILSON

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