Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Beeson, Romans part of Alaska High School Hall of Fame 2024 class

Legendary Kenai Peninsula coaches Jim Beeson and Ward Romans were named to the Alaska High School Hall of Fame 2024 class on Tuesday by the Alaska School Activities Association.

The class of 14 will be inducted May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Special Olympics Alaska Jim Balamaci Training Center in Anchorage. Once the 19th class in the Hall’s history is inducted, the Hall will have 198 members.

Beeson coached basketball, football, and track and field at Kenai Central, according to the release.

After the 2008-09 school year, Beeson became assistant principal at KCHS and had to step back from being a head coach because of a rule not allowing administrators to be a head coach.

At that point, he had coached the Kardinals football squad for 19 years, rolling up a 103-60 record. The wins place him seventh on the all-time Alaska list.

Beeson also was head coach when the Kardinals won four small-school state football titles, in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

He was an assistant on the 2009 and 2011 state title teams. Although not listed on the roster as an assistant in 2009, he was described in the media that season as a volunteer assistant and media liaison. In 2011, Beeson is listed on the roster as an assistant.

“Beeson’s teams were smart, disciplined, tough and hard working,” said veteran Alaska journalist Matt Tunseth, a former player for Beeson, in the ASAA release. “These were traits we picked up directly from our coach.”

Beeson also coached basketball for 18 years, 13 as boys head coach and five as girls head coach.

In his capacities as football and basketball head coach, Beeson earned conference and state coach of the year honors multiple times.

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce gave him the Service to Youth award in 2014. He also got a Key to the City award that year.

“(Coach Beeson) instilled confidence in me as a young person when I desperately needed it,” Tunseth said. “As priceless a lesson as anyone can ever receive.”

Beeson now lives and works in Wenatchee, Washington.

The close of the 2008-09 school year proved to be a pivotal one for peninsula sports, as Romans also stepped away from the Nikiski girls basketball program following that school year.

He was one of the original teachers and coaches when Nikiski High School opened in 1988, spending his first school year as the Bulldogs football and wrestling coach.

The following season, he took over the girls basketball team from the late John Andrews. That year, Nikiski finished 8-15. It would be the only losing season in Romans’ tenure with the Bulldogs, and only the second time the Bulldogs didn’t qualify for state.

The Bulldogs would go on to win eight Class 3A state titles and 12 Southcentral crowns under Romans’ watch. He finished there with a record of 411-125.

“(Romans’) teams were always fundamentally sound and executed the little things that often make the difference in games,” former Kenai Central girls head coach Craig Jung said in the ASAA release. “The hallmark of those teams was their defense. Teams didn’t get second shots.”

Romans coached Grace Christian for four seasons after moving on from Nikiski, with the Grizzlies earning their first state appearance in that time.

“As an athlete, my brother was special, but as a coach he was inspiring,” Patrick Romans said in the release. “He would never agree to what I’m saying or to the platitudes he’s received, he’s always been a very humble leader.”

Others in the class are Travis Adams, a basketball and football player from Barrow; Carl Arts, a basketball player from Valdez; Zack Bowman, a basketball and football player from Bartlett; Rod Christiansen, a football and Nordic ski coach from Palmer; Jordan Clarke, a track and field and football player from Bartlett; Raymond Douville, a basketball coach from Craig High School; Bill Jack, a basketball and cross-country coach from Bethel, Kotzebue and Nome; Shawn Lundgren, a hockey coach from Lathrop, Monroe Catholic and West Valley; John Miles, a Nordic ski coach from Nome and Unalakleet; Dean Overbey, an administrator from Nenana High School; Jesstina “Piggy” Pili, a basketball and volleyball player from Barrow; and Terek Rutherford, drama, debate and forensics participant from South Anchorage.

Editor’s note: This story clarifies the original web story on the matter of how many state titles Beeson won as an assistant.

Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Ward Romans coaches Nikiski basketball in January, 1991. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

Jim Beeson coaches Kenai Central basketball on March 11, 2000. (M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion file)

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