Editor’s note: The profile on Kurt Beyer was researched and written by Jim Dunne, a 1955 Norwich High School graduate. This is the fifth in our series of articles on the inaugural Norwich High School School Sports Hall of Fame class. The induction ceremony is Saturday, June 18 at Canasawacta Country Club. Please contact the NHS athletics office for more details on the banquet.
Kurt Beyer came to Norwich in 1930 as head football coach and director of athletics. He was a native of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, where he was captain of the basketball team, and a graduate of the University of Illinois. He remained in Norwich through the 1957 football season, compiling a record of 125 wins, 75 losses, and 9 ties.
During the 28 years that he coached football in Norwich, two teams, 1937 and 1952, went undefeated. Seven more teams lost only one game, and four lost just two. Eighteen teams won more than half their games, while seven teams lost more games than they won. In most of those 28 years, Norwich played as an independent, challenging teams from larger schools within Sections III and IV, and from Floral Park, Kingston, Newburgh, and Albany. During the 28 seasons, Norwich played 40 different opponents, some every season and some just once. Of the 40 opponents, only seven won more games against Norwich than they lost.
In a speech to the Norwich Rotary, Beyer once explained his scheduling philosophy: “I tried to schedule two teams from larger schools that should be better than we are year in and year out; two from smaller schools that hopefully were not as good as we are; and four teams that are our equal year in and year out. In my opinion, the worst things that can happen to any team, school or community are too much failure or too much success. The way of the world needs a mixture of defeat to spur continuing effort, and the success of victory to bring confidence in fair amounts.”
In addition to football, Beyer coached track from 1943-1958, basketball from 1930- 1935, junior varsity basketball from 1941-1947, and introduced many other sports into the Norwich schools. During the 1950s, in addition to the major sports, there were interscholastic teams in tennis, volleyball, badminton, ping-pong, riflery, and golf. He also started girls teams in several sports, well before they were mandated. His goal was to have every student involved in at least one sport. He said, “The real job here is to try to develop the special abilities of each and every youngster.” In order to reach them all, he taught several physical education classes every day...