Wes Brahler Notches 500th Cross Country Win

Coaching and a Passion to Inspire Others

By Brad Rapp

Wess Brahler has clicked the stop watch a few times over the last thirty one years of his Cross Country coaching career. Just recently Brahler put his 500th win in the books as both his boys and girls Knoch Knight Teams recorded wins over Deer Lakes, Holy Lutheran Redeemer and Ellis school on September 14, 2021. His journey began with win number one and has been a lot about his influences and experiences along the way.

Brahler is a 1988 graduate of Moniteau high school and a 1995 graduate of Slippery Rock University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Teaching Physical Education and Health (K-12). Brahler also holds a Master’s degree from Ohio University in Athens where he completed his Masters of Science in Exercise, Sport and Recreational Science with an Emphasis in Coaching Education.

In 1990 Wess took his first Boys Cross Country coaching job at his high school al ma mater. That initial season the Warriors went 10-1 and finished 3rd in District IX. As the wins piled up over the next four years for the boys team, Brahler initiated a girls Cross Country team at Moniteau with the 1995-96 noted as an exhibition season in which they went 2-11. From 1996 to 2001 his girls team finished with a 55-18 record with a third place in District IX in the 1999-2000 season.

At Moniteau his boys teams finished with back to back league titles from 1998 to 2000 as his teams finished unblemished and a 22-0 record. Brahler rounded out his eleven year coaching at Moniteau with a 103-30 Boys record and 57-29 with the girls and a win total of 160. His 1999 boy’s team qualified for the PIAA state meet and finished 19th overall.

In 2001 Brahler accepted the Cross Country Varsity coaching position at Knoch high school where he also has been a Health and Physical Education teacher at the middle school since November of 1998. WesOver the last twenty seasons as both the boys and girls coach, his teams have recorded 337 wins against 316 losses with an average win percentage well above 500 at 17-11. He has had three boys teams qualify for the PIAA State Championships and four girl’s teams at Knoch as well as many individual runner accomplishments’.

But for Wess Brahler it has not been just about Cross Country.

His lengthy coaching career spans over thirty two years which began in 1989 as the Moniteau Boys 7th and 8th grade boys’ basketball coach. Maybe a symbol of what was to be, his first coaching stint recorded a 14-0 season. From that point on, Brahler was hooked. You name it, he coached it; basketball, cross country and track and field.

Brahler would go on to coach basketball for eleven years at Moniteau with Tom Morton and Mark Kosick both whom where very influential in his life. Brahler looks back on those years, “Tom Morton was the one person who helped develop me as a basketball coach when I first started coaching at Moniteau.  He was a man of deep faith and a strong character.  Tom was a a lifelong friend of mine.” Tom passed away on February 25, 2021 which also happened to be Wes ‘s birthday.

After one year in the Jr. High program in 1990 Brahler joined head coach Tom Morton as his assistant and junior varsity coach. Brahler finished at Moniteau with a two year head coaching stint from 1998 - 2000 before accepting a position at Knoch High School as the 9th grade boys basketball coach. A position he held for 16 years compiling a 224-151 record including five section championships.

Brahler joined with former head Moniteau head basketball coach, Randy Armagost at Slippery Rock high school from 2017-2019.

Brahler accepted a position as the girl’s junior varsity basketball coach in 2019 a position he currently serves.

On the hardwood his ­­thirty two year career as either a jr. high, J.V assistant or head basketball coach Brahler has been a part of 528 career wins. Under Coach Tom Morton in which Brahler was an assistant, the Moniteau Boys Varsity team reached the District IX playoffs six consecutive years from 1992 to 1998.

At the Track and Field level, Brahler has coached for over 30 years with 12 years at Moniteau and 18 at Knoch. Brahler served as an assistant under Mark Kosick from 1990 to 2000 at Moniteau and he served as the head girls coach at Moniteau from 2000 to 2002. The 1993-1994 boys team finished a perfect 9-0 and the KSAC League and District IX champions. Mark Kosik has such a positive impact on who I became as a track coach, stated Brahler. “I ran for in high school for coach Kosick. I really enjoyed how he related stories about history and how important knowing the history of the school’s sport meant to keeping the tradition and commitment alive and strong. If you survived the track season, you became one of the alumni which meant something; once a warrior, always a warrior (team mascot). Coach Kosick would not let us ever forget that a little sweat and hard work would go a long way towards success. I learned a lot under my ten year tenure with Mark.”

Since 2003 coach Brahler has been at the helm as the Head Boys Track and Field at Knoch High school compiling a 101-77 record. His 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 teams were the Section 4 AAA Boy’s Champions. Brahler also served as an assistant girls coach at Knoch in track from 2003 to 2016. The girl’s teams claimed (3) section 4 AAA titles.

Who knows how many more years Coach Brahler will continue to influence and impact those he strives to make better on and off the field. Brahler also credits the many personal and inspiring individuals along his journey who include Vince Capuano, Les Shoop, Mike Ferrari, Albert Krick, Deb Bauman and Lou Slauterrback. Brahler is also quick to give credit to his mom and dad and his entire family for laying the ground work for his success.

For Coach Wess Brahler a lot has come to fruition over the last thirty two years. As you listen to Brahler speak it is not necessarily about the wins as much as the people he surrounded himself with and make him a better coach and person. That is what coaching is all about! It is a certainty that Coach Brahler has given back what he has learned over the years. One day the kids he has influenced will be talking about a coach from Knoch or Moniteau that had an impact on their lives.

Keep clicking that stop watch!

Congratulations Wes!