Kim Muhl

Often overlooked in discussions of Norway’s baseball accomplishments, coach Kim Muhl played a key role in helping the school reach their historic twenty state titles despite only coaching for one year.  He took the baseball reigns, as well as the duties of Physical Education teacher and Girls Head Basketball coach, at Norway High School on August 24, 1988, landing the job over seventy applicants when Coach Jim Van Scoyoc accepted a full-time position as a professional scout.

For the former assistant coach at Marion (Iowa), and multi-sport star in high school at Lost Nation, and in college at William Penn, Muhl inherited a substantial challenge.  Gone after the summer championship run in 1988 were Aaron Van Scoyoc, son of the former head coach, now playing collegiately in Arkansas, along with Chad Frese and Charlie Schulte.  When Muhl was finally given the position, the team had only four practices remaining until the start of the season. 
The new coach was being asked to fill the shoes of a man who had guided the school to eleven titles, and whose personality and reputation were larger than life.  Replacing a legend is never easy, but Muhl instinctively trusted his players, and they did not let him down.   In their first game, less than a week after the new coach took over, Brian Frese pitched Norway to a 7-3 win over Shellsburg.  Despite some pre-season “testing” by his players, athletes accustomed to the ‘Jim Van Scoyoc way’ (and the consequences of not doing things the coach’s way) and not sure about the caliber of the new guy,  the players adapted fairly quickly to Muhl’s standards.

While the Van Scoyoc family – father and son – had departed, there was still some extraordinary talent on the field.  Along with Brian and Chris Frese, the team had kept future pro Tyson Kimm, as well as Andy Volz and Brad Groff.  Still, it was a young team.

Coach Van Scoyoc told Muhl that he’d always tried to put between four and six seniors on every squad.  It was a way of keeping some experience on the diamond while always growing next year’s squad.  Muhl’s team had only two seniors, although both Chris Frese and Andy Volz were terrific talents on the mound, at the plate, and in the field.  But it was the sustainment of the program, the accountability placed on the underclassmen, that set the stage for the 1989, 1990, and 1991 title runs.

As the school year progressed, Muhl made his peace with the “Norway version” of the John Wooden syndrome.  Despite travelling to every playoff game in 1989 (Norway had, generally, hosted at least one per season), his team won over thirty games and finished as state runner-up the following summer.  Coach Muhl also spearheaded the conversion of the old bus garage into a legitimate weight room for the baseball and basketball teams.

Ultimately, however, Muhl read the ‘tea leaves’ and became concerned that school consolidation might squeeze him out of a job in Norway.  With an offer from Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids) to become head Women’s Basketball coach, and with Jim Van Scoyoc deciding he’d rather return to Norway than coach minor league pitchers in the Appalachian League, Muhl departed for the more secure position. 

On November 30, 1989, Van Scoyoc was re-hired as head baseball coach at Norway High School, and coach Muhl took over the women’s basketball program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, a position from which he has consistently produced winning teams, and has been named ‘Region IX Coach of the Year’ fourteen times.