Ken Krahn (1974-1978)
Recap of “Ken Krahn Day” – August 30, 2003
By Andy Brunelle ’78
Ken Krahn, former Bishop Kelly High School football coach, was honored at halftime of the Bishop Kelly v. Judge Memorial football game August 30, 2003. Krahn, head coach of the Knights from 1974 – 1978 joined more than two dozen former assistant coaches and players in a brief halftime commemoration. A 25-year anniversary commemorative print was unveiled to the delight of Ken, his former players and assistants, as well as others at the event. Click here to view the 25th Anniversary commemorative poster of the Ken Krahn Era.
It was twenty five years ago, when in the fall of 1978 that Ken Krahn completed his five years as head coach at BK. During Krahn’s five-year tenure as head coach the Knights achieved a 41-12-1 record and three Snake River Valley Conference championships. In 1978, his final season, Krahn brought BK to the brink of a state championship in the old A-2 classification, the first year of the playoff system.
Thirty years ago Ken Krahn was hired as head coach at Bishop Kelly High School. He was the fourth coach to lead the Knights in the ten years since the school opened in 1964. Back then Bishop Kelly High School sat at the western edge of Boise. Franklin road was a two-lane road, and there was no mega shopping mall and associated sprawl to the west.
It was the era just as college football at Boise State University began to capture the imagination of the sports community. High school football in the Boise valley still received a lot of attention, especially in the local press. Recognizing the role that the Idaho Statesman newspaper had in local high school sports, a special guest at the ceremoney was Ray Giffin. Ray was a long-time sports writer at the Idaho Statesman where he covered Bishop Kelly football from its first game in 1964 until Ray retire in 1990. We were glad to see Ray back at Nick Ysursa Field to be part of the ceremony.
Those of us who were around in the middle to late 1970s had the pleasure to watch Bishop Kelly football under head coach Ken Krahn. Ken was head coach from the 1974 through 1978 seasons. The 41 wins, 12 losses and one tie during Ken’s five years as head coach are more than just raw statistics. BK football games were epic battles against strong rivals. For example, over the five year period the Knights lost two heart-breakers to the arch-rival Vallivue Falcons in 1974 and 1975 in the last game of the regular season and both games had the SRV Championship on the line. In 1976 and 1977 BK evened the series with dominating wins of 28-0 and 31-0. And then in 1978 the Knights pulled off a come from behind thriller 16-14 at Vallivue.
Ken coached the first teams in Bishop Kelly history to win ten games in a season, and he did this in back to back seasons in 1977 and 1978 when the Knights were 10-1 and 10-2 respectively. From 1976-1978 BK had 29 wins, the highest for a three-year period in school history.
Krahn’s average 8.2 wins per season stands as the school record.
The last win in Ken’s career at BK was the school’s first ever appearance in the new post-season playoff system for A-2 schools in 1978. BK made a round trip of more than 1,000 miles to Wallace, Idaho to play the Wallace Miners on November 18, 1978 in the state semi finals. The team stopped in Moscow on the way north to practice outside the U of I Kibbie Dome and then spent Friday night in Wallace, attending a dinner with the host team in the parish hall of St. Alphonsus Church (Wallace is a predominantly Catholic town and once had a Catholic school).
Saturday morning the Knights awoke to three inches of snow, and it kept snowing until game time that afternoon. Despite the unprecedented playing conditions the Knights showed they could play in snow and BK came away with a 30-21 win and then went on to play the Buhl Indians at Bronco Stadium on the day after Thanksgiving in the first ever state championship where the Knights fell short.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE KRAHN ERA Ken is tied for second among BK football coaches in winning percentage, with a winning average of 76 percent. He is tied with former coach Mush Stevens. The legendary Chuck Forrestal, BK’s first football coach, leads with an 82 percent winning percentage.
More than 120 Bishop Kelly High School students played football for Ken Krahn during his time at BK. The Knights won a lot of games, but most importantly the former players took with them the enjoyment and experience of playing under Ken Krahn. Ken made the extra effort to make sure that as many players as possible got to play, and that playing time was shared based on effort, attitude, and the game score. He spread the playing time by platooning the offense and defense in the final three seasons, when no players were used as two-way starters.
Chuck Forrestal started the winning tradition at BK, achieving a 45 win, 10 loss record over six seasons from 1964 through 1969. Following two more coaches who stayed two years each, Ken Krahn secured a winning legacy for the program that has continued for the past 25 years. The total win-loss record for BK through the 2002 season is 270-119-2 for a .691 winning percentage.
Ken has gone on to a successful career in coaching and high school athletics, first at Ontario High School and for the past fourteen years at Lewiston High School, where he servesd as assistant principal and athletic director before retiring in 2007. Ken is a referee in college basketball, officiating games on the west coast.
Three of Coach Krahn’s players, Dick Wilkin (Idaho); Mike Brady (Boise State); and John Brunelle (Pacific), went on to play complete football careers at the collegiate level.
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