Winning is all in the family: Talent for sports championships handed down from father…to daughter…to son

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Sports have always been a way of life for Jim Mueller’s family — and so has winning championships.

“It’s a great feeling — football. We won my junior year, and really got the winning feel. As a senior, we won Lacrosse State Championship. To be looked up to and to come out as a champion now as a senior was a really special feeling,” Kory Mueller said.

Most high school student-athletes would be thankful to be a part of one state championship team. Kory Mueller, who just graduated from Waukesha Catholic Memorial has two.

But when it comes to championships in the Mueller family, Kory has company.

“I played high school football up in Two Rivers, Wisconsin — and we won the first of three state championships. My year we brag because we were the undefeated team,” Jim Mueller said.

Jim Mueller went on to play a year of football at UW-Stout, but…

“It just wasn’t enough. Once I found my career here in Milwaukee as a firefighter, I was in the Army National Guard actually, and one of my sergeants was a coach for the Racine Raiders,” Jim Mueller said.

Jim Mueller made the team as a running back. The rest, as they say, is history.

“We move on to the playoffs, and we end up in Canada for the World Championship. It was comparable to the Ice Bowl. It was ten degrees out — forty below with the wind chill. It was in the middle of a blizzard, and we came out victorious — world champions,” Jim Mueller said.

Like father, like son — and daughter!

Katie Mueller — Kory’s older sister, played all the sports before settling in on volleyball and basketball.

“2008 was the 50th year of the Padre Sierra Tournament. 50 teams were invited, instead of the usual 32. All of us had just dreamed that the Padre — we were gonna win it! We were gonna win — and St. Matthias had never won the Padre before — so it was really cool that my team was the first one to win,” Katie Mueller said.

Katie Mueller was a champion in basketball as an eighth-grader. She played four years on varsity, but she would find her sports niche in another sport.

“High school rolled around and my friends dragged me out onto the rugby field — and I was like ‘you gotta be kidding me.’ You want me to play what?” Katie Mueller said.

Katie Mueller ended up becoming a natural in the sport. She was all set to play basketball in college when the rugby coach at Penn State saw her play in California. Katie Mueller wound up playing for the Nittany Lions.

“In rugby, we have nine overall national champions. This year was our three-peat. I’ve been a part of the last two, as I’m moving into my junior year. It’s been quite an incredible journey. This is the first time that any women’s rugby team has ever won three national championships in a row,” Katie Mueller said.

Katie Mueller is also involved in the Air Force ROTC at Penn State. After graduating, she’ll be commissioning into the Air Force.

This summer, she completed three weeks of field training in Alabama and Mississippi, and graduated in the top ten percent of her class.

TheirĀ father has been a big influence in both Kory Mueller and Katie Mueller’s lives.

“Dad is a part of the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Honor Guard, and I am also on the Penn State ROTC Honor Guard. That’s something Dad always did, and I looked up to how he did that and the respect for the flag, and the ceremonial things that ‘hey, I wanna do that too,’” Katie Mueller said.

Jim Mueller somehow found time to coach his kids growing up. In fact, he was Kory’s position coach in lacrosse.

“Lacrosse has a tradition of win or lose, end of the game, you run to your goalie. I wasn’t thinking about it in the state game. We won the game, I threw my stick and I ran straight to my dad. I went and gave him a big hug because, like I said, from second grade on, he’s been my coach and I knew this was it,” Kory Mueller said.

Lest you think that Jim Mueller is the only role model in the family. None of this would have been possible without Dawn — the mother and wife on this Mueller team of champions. Hers was a labor of love, but hectic at times.

“Mom is great. There would be times that she’s breaking her neck to try and get off work to come to our games or ‘alright – you gotta get Kory to practice and then I can come out to Katie’s game,’” Katie Mueller said.

“Absolutely. You’d come home going ‘okay, was I taking, picking up? Who was I doing what with?” Dawn Mueller said.

“I’d say she’s the glue. I mean, like I said, if it’s a bad game, and we have two cars at the game, I’m with Mom,” Kory Mueller said.

“Everybody in my office knows what my kids do and what my husband does because there’s pictures all around me that dictate what’s going on in our lives. Some of the ladies don’t have kids and they feel like they live their lives through mine,” Dawn Mueller said.

Kory Mueller plans on playing lacrosse at Colorado State Pueblo. So after the summer, finally, after all these years, Mom gets a well-deserved break.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not looking forward to it. I will try to still go to as many games as we can get to — so I’m not looking forward to that empty nest thing!” Dawn Mueller said.

Mueller says she knew exactly what she was getting into when she married her sports-minded husband — and she says she has no regrets.

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