Former Mariner athlete honored
Thirty years after winning his second state title as a Mariner wrestler, the Alaska School Activities Association is inducting Homer High School alumnus Ian Pitzman into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame. Pitzman, owner of Fortune Sea LLC and a leader in the Homer fishing community, will be the sixth Homer High athlete honored in the hall of fame.
“He’s what you call an all-American kid for sure,” said former Homer High assistant wrestling coach Al Poindexter. “I would call him an all-Alaskan kid. I wish they were all like that; that would have been awesome.”
During his time as a student-athlete, Pitzman earned the respect of his coaches and peers, as well as many accolades. He served as the captain of Homer’s football team and accumulated 11 letters in wrestling, football and track during his four-year career at Homer High, according to Homer High School athletic director Chris Perk. In addition to winning state titles in wrestling in 1985 and 1986, Pitzman also won a region title in the 110-meter hurdles track event. His school record of 44 consecutive wins in wrestling lasted 27 years.
Pitzman took a leadership role on the wrestling team and the other wrestlers looked up to him, Poindexter said. If his teammates grumbled about a workout, Pitzman would set their attitudes straight and they listened. With a combination of strength and speed on his side, Pitzman was a part of a wrestling team that intimidated even the bigger schools in the state.
“He was on an exceptional team of kids,” Poindexter said. “They were all-above average and that’s how come we were winning state championships and all the big schools in Anchorage would shiver and shake when we showed up.”
Pitzman, now 47, still lives in Homer, only moving away to attend college at Clackamas Community College in Oregon where he briefly wrestled before an injury ended his athletic career. He married his high school sweetheart Stephanie, who was a wrestling cheerleader in 1986, and together they have seven children ranging from 3 years old to 20. Pitzman helped out with his oldest son’s wrestling, and then with hockey when his son decided to switch. Though he coached his son’s team this year, Pitzman described himself as “terrible” on the ice.
Pitzman’s induction into the hall of fame comes as a surprise to him.
“I was really flattered to be nominated and then surprised to be picked. … I felt surprised, honored and flattered,” Pitzman said. “I never thought of myself that way. I was certainly proud to have some accomplishments in high school and I was participating in sports for lots of different reasons — being a part of the team and having fun.”
This tracks with Poindexter and former teammate Vincent Littrell’s memories of Pitzman as a humble player, despite all his achievements.
“Coaches loved coaching him because he was willing to listen and humble,” Littrell said. “He was a good role model for his teammates and other students. Ian, not only being that tremendous athlete, was just a good guy.”
Littrell recalls wrestling with Pitzman at practice nearly every day his senior year at the prompting of then-head coach Steve Wolfe, and losing a lot.
“Coach wanted me to improve a lot so he would deliberately have Ian beat up on me every day. For me it was like wrestling a mountain,” Littrell said. “Because I had to wrestle that beast everyday I actually won state (in my weight class) that year, 1986.”
Littrell, who went on to serve and wrestle in the military, credits Pitzman with making him a better wrestler. In the many years of experience he has had since high school, Littrell said Pitzman was one of the highest caliber men he has been around.
“He was the hands-down most dominant wrestler in Alaska at that time,” Littrell said. ” He is one of the finest guys I’ve had the pleasure being associated with. Wrestling is one facet of that; it’s who he is as a person.”
Anna Frost can be reached at email@example.com.
Past ASAA Hall of Fame Members
from Homer High School:
InductedASAA Hall of FameMembers