Kraig Kurzanski ’84 named Canisius High School head football coach

Keith McShea

(Photo by Harry Scull Jr. @hsjrphoto/Buffalo News)

Kraig Kurzanski ’84 is coming home.

Kurzanski, a member of the Canisius High School Athletic Hall of Fame who has been one of Western New York’s most successful high school football coaches over the last three decades, has been named the Crusaders’ head football coach, Canisius Director of Athletics James Mauro announced Tuesday morning.

“First, I’d like to thank Bryan Gorman for his work this past season as our interim varsity football coach,” Mauro said. “He took over under some challenging circumstances and served our players well.

“Kraig’s outstanding background and record in coaching stands on its own. But, just as importantly, Kraig is so well respected and a man of tremendous character that I know will serve the young men at our school very well.”

Kurzanski returns to Canisius with an overall coaching record of 157-97-2 over 28 seasons, including an 88-49 mark the last 15 years at Williamsville South. The South Buffalo native’s 157 career victories make him one of the winningest active coaches in Western New York; he is also among the statewide leaders in active coaching wins.

“It is with great honor and pride that I have been granted the privilege to lead the football program at Canisius High School,” Kurzanski said. “Canisius changed my life. As a member of the Class of 1984, Canisius afforded me the best education in Western New York. I am home again.”

“I would like to thank Father Ciancimino, Ms. Andrea Tyrpak-Endres and Mr. Jim Mauro for entrusting me to lead the young men of the Canisius High School football team.”

Kurzanski coached previously at Canisius from 2001 to 2003, including one Monsignor Martin Association Large School championship game berth. During that tenure he held several roles at CHS, including assistant Dean of Students.  

“I believe I have the most unique perspective of Canisius High School,” Kurzanski said. “I have been student, teacher, assistant Dean of Students, coach and advisor at CHS. I left in 2004. I have been afforded the opportunity to come back again, 17 years later. It is with great reverence that I accept my position at CHS.” 

Kurzanski was inducted into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 for his achievements in both football – in which he earned All-Western New York first-team honors at center in 1983 – and baseball.

He played college football for two years each at Johns Hopkins University and St. Lawrence University; he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from St. Lawrence in 1989 before obtaining his master’s in education in earth sciences from Buffalo State in 1993.

Kurzanski is in his 18th year teaching science in the Williamsville Central School District; he will retire from teaching at the end of this school year.

At Williamsville South, Kurzanski won five league titles and coached 67 players who went on to play college football, including seven in Division I. Two of those players were 2011 Connolly Cup winner Joe Licata and 2015 Trench Trophy winner Jake Fuzak (both who went on to the University at Buffalo). Kurzanski coached three All-Western New York first-teamers in 2021.

He has been named Coach of the Year seven times in his career and he has earned the Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week Award four times.

Kurzanski’s coaching career began with a 52-28-2 record over nine seasons at Oakfield-Alabama of Section V (Rochester area). Prior to Kurzanski’s arrival, O-A had four straight losing seasons; his teams won five league titles and made a sectional final.

Following his first stop at Canisius, and one year prior to starting at South, he coached the 2006 season at St. Mary’s of Lancaster, where he led the Lancers to a 7-2 record and a berth in the Monsignor Martin Small School title game.

Kurzanski has also been a successful baseball coach at Oakfield-Alabama (seven league titles and one sectional championship in eight seasons) and Williamsville South (one state championship game appearance in eight seasons).

Kurzanski’s wife of 32 years, Mary Clare, is the daughter of the late Andrew Meaney Jr. ’43, who is also a member of the Canisius Athletic Hall of Fame; Meaney was inducted in 1997, also for his achievements in football and baseball.

Kraig and Mary Clare are parents to two adult children: Kathryn, 29, is the head field hockey coach at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts; Molly, 27, works in logistics in Albany.

Gorman was named interim head coach in June following the of departure of Rich Robbins. Robbins compiled a 78-29 record over 10 years at Canisius, including three state titles and two undefeated seasons, before he moved to Florida in May. In the 2021 season, the Crusaders went 6-4 and lost to St. Francis in the Monsignor Martin Association championship game.

Tom Coppola ’01 named 25th principal of Canisius High School

Tom Coppola ’01, a Canisius graduate who has spent the last 14 years at the school as an administrator and faculty member, has been named principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School, Canisius President Fr. David S. Ciancimino, S.J., announced Thursday morning.

Coppola has been the Dean of Students at Canisius for the last eight years. He is the 25th principal in the history of the 152-year-old institution.

“Tom is a very positive, enthusiastic leader who has great ideas for Canisius High School and its future,” said Ciancimino, “and certainly Canisius is in his heart and in his soul."

Kraig Kurzanski ’84 named Canisius High School head football coach

Kraig Kurzanski ’84 is coming home.

Kurzanski, a member of the Canisius High School Athletic Hall of Fame who has been one of Western New York’s most successful high school football coaches over the last three decades, has been named the Crusaders’ head football coach, Canisius Director of Athletics James Mauro announced Tuesday morning.

Support Canisius for the holidays via the CHSPA Poinsettia & Wreath Sale

Beautify your home this holiday season and support Canisius High School programs at the same time. 

The Canisius High School Parents Association's annual Holiday Poinsettia & Wreath Sale continues through Monday.

Locally grown poinsettia plants and hand-made holiday wreaths are available for purchase, with all proceeds going to CHS Campus Ministry programs. 

A Power Play for Others: Three CHS grads skating in marathon hockey game

On Sunday, 40 people will attempt to play hockey in downtown Buffalo for 11 straight days, raising money to fight cancer as part of the fifth edition of the 11-Day Power Play. 

Not surprisingly, three of those literally living in the rink will be “Men for Others.” 

Three Canisius High School graduates will be on the ice for up to 10 hours a day, around the clock, from start to finish: Peter Merlo ’88 and Michael Meade ’87 will play while Mark Paradowski ’99 will be one of three officials skating regular shifts, just like the players. When they’re not part of the game, they’ll be sleeping on temporary beds a few steps from the rink at Buffalo Riverworks.

Eight CHS student-athletes commit to colleges, and say thanks

Eight Canisius High School seniors formally announced their college choices Wednesday in the Canisius High School Brady Conference Room. Each student-athlete also paid tribute to those who helped them throughout their career.

The group included four lacrosse players, three baseball players and a swimmer.

For the 2020-21 school year, 10% of the Canisius High senior class committed to play collegiate athletics; the national average is less than 2%. More signings will be announced throughout the school year. 

Drive-thru food drive at Canisius on Saturday morning  

Western New Yorkers will be lining up at a different kind of drive-thru Saturday as Canisius High School collects donations of food for those in need this holiday season.

The public is encouraged to donate non-perishable food items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the school at 1180 Delaware Ave.

All donations will benefit St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, which cares for the poor and abandoned in Western New York. Soon after food is donated on Delaware Ave. on Saturday morning, Canisius student and staff volunteers will transport the items to St. Luke’s on Walden Ave.

Great Ignatian Challenge food drive kicks off at Canisius on Tuesday

A food drive which aims to collect tons of provisions for Buffalonians in need will kick off Tuesday at Canisius.

The Great Ignatian Challenge, in which Canisius participates in a friendly – but spirited – competition with other Jesuit high schools across the Northeast to provide food to the needy for the holiday season, will be held from Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 19. 

Food collected by Canisius during the drive will go to St. Luke's Mission of Mercy. Non-perishable food can be donated at CHS on school days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). 

Canisius will also be hosting a drive-thru food drop-off event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. 

Tyrpak-Endres to conclude her tenure as Canisius principal 

Andrea Tyrpak-Endres, who is in her eighth year as principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School, has decided to conclude her tenure as principal at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, Canisius President Fr. David S. Ciancimino, S.J., announced Friday morning. 

Tyrpak-Endres, the first female principal in the 151-year history of Canisius, will continue to teach religion at the school.

Tyrpak-Endres has taught for more than 35 years at Canisius, including throughout her tenure as principal.

"I am grateful for Andrea, her dedication to our mission and her care for our Canisius High School community," said Ciancimino. 

Luke LoTempio '22 named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

Luke LoTempio '22 has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. 

The semifinalists were announced Wednesday by the National Merit Scholarship Company, and the 16,000 who are being honored represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.  

"Being selected as a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program is a reflection of the effort I have put into my work," said LoTempio. "It reminds me to continue to do my best."

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 named Roswell Park deputy director, chair of medicine

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 has come back to Buffalo for "the opportunity of a lifetime." 

Brentjens has been named the Deputy Director and Chair of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Roswell Park describes Brentjens as "one of the most influential and accomplished figures in the field of cancer immunotherapy."

Matthew Cady named Canisius cross country/track coach

Matthew Cady is joining Canisius High School as the new head coach for cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

Cady brings a wealth of academic and athletic experience to Canisius, where he will also be a physical education and health teacher.

Cady, who has a doctorate from Penn State, competed at Syracuse University in both cross country and track for four years before going on to coach both sports at the University of Pittsburgh for two years.