SEATTLE — Bishop Blanchet High School math teacher and head boys soccer coach Chris Connors died Monday night after a battle with stomach cancer. Connors was 41.
“He always taught his athletes, you’re not always going to win, but it’s how you compete that matters. We watched him model that these last few months,” said Blanchet athletic director Rick O’Leary.
Connors was raised in Seattle, and graduated from Blanchet in 1991. Connors then attended the University of Washington for a math degree, and Central Washington University for his teaching certificate. Connors returned to Blanchet in 2000 as a geometry teacher.
“It’s not always the most exciting material, but the kids looked forward to his class, because he had a knack for making it fun,” said O’Leary.
Connors began coaching the boys soccer team in 2003, and led the boys soccer team to third place in the 2007 state championship. The team also made state tournament appearances in 2003 and 2006.
Connors hit 100 wins in 2012, but O’Leary said Connors downplayed the moment, and was reticent to show his win-loss record.
“He was about the journey and taking the players through the season and having the whole high school sports experience,” said Blanchet girls soccer coach Nils Dahlgren. “He wasn’t to the point where he lost track of what high school sports was about.”
Connors also worked as the JV girls soccer coach until the cancer was discovered this past summer. Dahlgren said Connors did everything he needed to help his players develop into stronger athletes and students.
“He gave his everything to the program, at games, off the field, whatever it took,” Dahlgren said.
Connors was diagnosed with stomach cancer in August, two months after his wedding to Kristin Kuzmanich, who also teaches at Blanchet. Doctors said the cancer was inoperable and incurable.
Connors is survived by Kuzmanich, two daughters, his parents, and brother, Ben.
There will be a funeral service Sat. Dec. 6 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.