Ashford University Chooses December Commencement Speaker

Winning baseball coach chosen to deliver Ashford University graduation address

Kent Stock – teacher, coach, principal, husband, parent, and the man who coached the 1991 Norway High School (Norway, Iowa)  baseball team during its now-famous final season – will give the keynote address during Ashford University’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 10. Ashford University’s December commencement ceremony is for students who attended classes at its Clinton, Iowa campus. The event will be held at 10 a.m. in the Kehl Arena in the Durgin Educational Center. Nearly 40 students are expected to graduate.

Growing up in central Iowa, Stock excelled at baseball with the support of his close-knit family. To begin his college career, he selected Waldorf College where he played second base and then transferred to Luther College during his junior year. There he continued to pursue his love of the sport while earning his undergraduate degree in business management with a minor in education.

Stock began his career in Belle Plaine, Iowa where he became well known and respected as both a teacher and a coach. While scouting a game, he met the head coach of nearby Norway, Iowa’s famous baseball team, Jim Van Scoyoc, who agreed to interview him for an assistant coach position. Over the years, Norway, a tiny Iowa community of less than 600, defied statistical probability by producing 16 professional baseball players and countless college players.

Baseball was pivotal in Norway. As depicted in the 2007 film, “The Final Season,” the nationally recognized Norway baseball team came together under inauspicious circumstances. The team defied the odds under the leadership of Stock, a first-year head baseball coach, and won Norway’s 20th state title.

“As a kid, I always wanted my parents to move to Norway so I could play Norway baseball. Jim Van Scoyoc was a legend in the area and to talk with him was like meeting one of my childhood heroes,” Stock said.

After a year as Van Scoyoc’s assistant, he became the head coach just as Norway was notified that the school would be merging with a neighboring school in the fall, making the summer of 1991 the last baseball season as Norway High School. The team, led by 30-year-old Stock, had only one goal in mind as it started its final season – to win Norway’s 20th state title. The film “The Final Season” is the story of how the team accomplished just that.

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (  The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus.  The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs.  For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.