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Muhl achieves 850 wins

30-year career built on winning consistently

By Erich Pilcher
On March 2, 2018

Photo by Jeff Sigmund. Christmas Puok shoots a long range three versus Iowa Lakes. The Kirkwood Community College Women’s Basketball team are ranked second  in the NJCAA rankings. On top of being the defending National Champions, they have sewn up the ICCAC regular season conference championship after a dominating 73-47 victory on Feb 24.

The Chicago Tribune once wrote in an article about Chicago Bears coaching great George Halas Who, exactly, seeks out a coach? Winners, who want more out of life. 

One Kirkwood Community College coach has been guiding winners for close to 30 years.  

That coach is Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kim Muhl and his record speaks for itself.  

On Feb. 3, Muhl won his 850th career game as a head basketball coach with an 84-45 dismantling of rival Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). Couple that with his seven national titles, 24 regional title game appearances, 17 national tournament appearances and being only one of two active coaches in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame, among many more accolades; it is easy to see Muhl’s record is just as impressive as it is long.  

With so many achievements Muhl has remained focused and finds it hard to be proud of a singular achievement. “I do not know how you rate that, they all have things that stand out. It’s like when people ask to compare national championship teams, they are all rewarding.” said Muhl.  

Even though he said it was difficult to remember his proudest achievement, Muhl recalled one of his fondest memories. 

“When we won our first national title (1997) we were in uncharted waters. No one really knew what to do, when I got back I had to begin coaching softball. We had to go off the cuff. We had to decide do we get rings, a banquet. We blazed the trail for that.” Muhl said.

Muhl is also responsible for Kirkwood’s first national tournament appearance as a school, something he was able to achieve in only his second season. “That first year we made the tournament we had only eight kids, we were a special group (a record of 20-9),” said Muhl.   

Being the first team to go to a national tournament is quite the honor. However, Muhl’s accomplishments to Kirkwood mean so much more. 

“Coach Muhl IS Kirkwood Community College Athletics. It is terrific to have someone with his experience and successful footprint in the department.” Kirkwood Athletic Director Doug Wagemester said.

 Wagemester added, “His value in the department goes way beyond the championships. He has a vast knowledge of the community college coaching landscape and more importantly, is willing to share that knowledge and his support with the other coaches in our department.”  

Muhl’s career before Kirkwood took him to many areas including Tiffin, Ohio, and Cumberland, Ken. (where Muhl earned his M.A. in Secondary Education). With all these stops and many years in coaching overall, Muhl has seen the game evolve. 

“Kids are better skilled, there is more specialization, weight programs have changed, they are bigger, faster and stronger, the kids can do more,” Muhl stated. 

With so much success one would be correct to assume that Muhl has been asked about bringing his standard of excellence elsewhere.  However, Kirkwood is where he has decided to stay. “You always have a chance to move. It’s gotta be a good fit and have the right timing. The timing has never felt right.” said Muhl.  

One thing many followers will attribute to the success of the women’s basketball program is consistency. With 29 consecutive 20 win seasons, Muhl and his teams have been one of the most consistent in NJCAA. 

But all the credit does not fall on him. “Just try to recruit good kids in search of something better. Hopefully they buy in and it is not a big secret the success we have had. We have expectations and accountability.” Muhl stated. 

 With so many achievements and so many wins, it would be easy for a coach to be thinking about the end of his career but not Muhl. “It’s a run we have going. I have more gas in the tank. When coaches lose passion that’s the time to get out and that has not even crept into my mind.” concluded Muhl.  

“When I think of Coach Muhl, I see a man who cares about people first and foremost.  He genuinely cares about people and their well being and enjoys interacting with people of all ages,” said Wagemester.  

“From more of a professional angle, I see a fierce competitor who will put the work and time into putting a quality team on the floor.  The fact that he has done this over nearly 30 years is a testament to his dedication and drive.  A winner,” he added.

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