Archived Sections, National Lutheran News

Luther College grad is in the movies!

Kent Stock’s high school baseball team wanted to give up. He wouldn’t.

A feature-length motion picture based on the inspirational sto-ry of Luther College alumnus Kent Stock as coach of a small Iowa high school baseball team, opened in Twin Cities theaters October 12.
“The Final Season” dramatizes Norway High School’s 1991 baseball season. Stock, in his first year as a head coach, led the school to its 20th and final state championship before its merger with the Benton Community School District.
Coach Stock, portrayed in the movie by actor Sean Astin, is caught up in a small town’s conflict between tradition and progress. The closing of Norway High School threatens the community’s identity and ends a decades-long baseball legacy. When the town and the team are on the verge of quitting, Stock asks them the question that becomes the movie’s theme: “How do you want to be remembered?”
“Norway High School winning that last state championship wasn’t about the baseball that I taught them, because they already knew how to play,” said Stock. “What I did in that final season was keep the players together, pick them up when they were down, and work with them as individuals.”
“The Final Season” has another notable Luther College connection: Luther alumnus Terry Trimpe is its associate producer. Stock’s career as a Luther College baseball player is a prominent part of the film.
“The Final Season” premiered April 28 at the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York. The movie’s cast and crew includes Astin, known for his roles in “Rudy,” “Lord of the Rings” and “The Goonies”; Powers Boothe from “Deadwood” playing former Norway coach Jim Van Scoyoc; and Rachael Leigh Cook from “She’s All That.”
The tradition of baseball as a center of small town identity is no-where more genuine than Norway, Iowa, a town of 600 people with a school that produced 20 state champions and sent dozens of players on to college and 16 to professional baseball. The Norway Tigers became legendary, featured on ESPN and reported in Baseball Weekly and the Wall Street Journal as the school of fewer than 100 students that consistently won state championship games, playing against schools five times their size. “The Final Season” dramatizes the story of the team’s battle to overcome dissension and gloom, restore its integrity and honor, and rise to the challenge of winning a final championship.