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Iowa History Daily: February 9 - Harlan's Curt Bladt

Iowa History Daily: On February 9, 2020, legendary Harlan High School Football Coach Curt Bladt announced his retirement. The winningest coach in Iowa’s high school football history by percentage, Bladt posted 422 wins and 11 state championships while leading Harlan from 1978 through 2019.

Initially arriving in Harlan as a 23-year-old in 1967, Bladt spent ten years as an assistant coach before taking over the head job. “When I first stopped here, I was going to stay for one year and then move on to something else,” Bladt said. “I just hung on. I guess I wasn’t qualified to do anything else.” Lucky for Harlan, Bladt proved qualified to coach football. Bladt guided the Cyclones program to state titles in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009 and to nearly 40 state playoff appearances.

During his second Cyclone championship three-peat in December, 2004, Bladt came down with Guillain-Barré syndrome - a rare autoimmune disorder where a person’s own immune system causes nerve damage. He suffered partial paralysis for more than a month, but was back on the sidelines (on a motorized cart) to coach the 2005 season.

Inducted into the NHSACA National Hall of Fame in 2017, an honor which followed his 1993 election to the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the NFHS National Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2009, the NFHS awarded Bladt with their National High School Football Coach of the Year award. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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