In just a half season as the Youngstown State bowling program’s head coach, Doug Kuberski showed that the Penguins have the potential to be a competitor at the national level.
Kuberski joined the Penguins in December 2018 and quickly established a competitive culture set up for long-term success. He led the program to three wins over top-five ranked teams in just five tournaments, an impressive feat considering the Penguins had one top-five win in their first two-and-a-half seasons as a Division I program. Kuberski also succeeded with individual development and was able to recruit four talented bowlers to enhance the program’s future.
YSU was 28-25 overall in head-to-head matches under Kuberski in the spring, which included an impressive 14-6 mark in team play.
YSU topped fifth-ranked Sam Houston State in bracket play at the KU Invitational in the final match of Kuberski’s first tournament on Jan. 20. The Penguins then topped No. 3 Nebraska at their next tournament, the Sunshine State Winter Classic on Feb. 8, in Baker play. YSU then took down No. 1 McKendree in a Baker match at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic on Mar. 15 for their best victory in program history.
The Penguins finished Kuberski’s first season ranked 24th in the final National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 poll. That was their highest ranking at the end of a season in school history. YSU received votes in the November poll and jumped into the Top 25 in February in what was the first release under Kuberski.
The Penguins made numerous new entries to the program’s record book in Kuberski’s short spring tenure in 2019. They twice bowled a 258 game in Baker play, including when they shot a school record 1,084 against Chestnut Hill in their second match of the Kuberski era at the KU Invitational. The Penguins also had their two highest match totals in team play at the KU Invitational with a 1,073 against St. Francis Brooklyn and a 1,063 versus Sacred Heart.
Junior Nikki Mendez flourished in the 2019 spring semester under Kuberski and averaged a 199.36 over 22 games. That was a big improvement from the 178.45 she averaged 20 games in the fall. Mendez led the Penguins in team game average, Baker frame average, fill percentage, strike percentage and spare conversion percentage in 2019, and she was named Honorable Mention All-Southland Bowling League for her efforts.
Mendez was also recognized for her work in the classroom as one of five Penguins who were named to the SBL All-Academic Team. She was joined by Emily Dietz, Emma Dockery, Rachel Ellis and Ashley Kolb.
Kuberski worked quickly to make recruiting connections and signed four future Penguins that will join the program in fall 2019 semester. He added graduating high school seniors Megan Grams (Michigan City, Ind.) and Alicia Yacono (Canton, Ohio) as well as transfers Sarah Florence (Egg Harbor City, N.J.) and Emma Wrenn (Arlington Heights, Ill.). Florence competed for two years at LIU Brooklyn while Wrenn bowled at Saint Francis U.
Kuberski came to Youngstown State after serving as the head coach at Iowa Western Community College. He was previously the interim head coach at annual Division I power Arkansas State.
"We couldn't be more excited that Coach Kuberski has decided to join our Penguin family," said YSU Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo upon Kuberski’s hiring. "His background as a former Division I athlete and an interim Head Coach at a top-five nationally ranked program, as well as his most recent experience in starting up both a collegiate men's and women's bowling program in just seven short months at Iowa Western, demonstrated to us he knows the game and knows how to successfully lead a Division I program. Our student-athletes are ecstatic about his selection."
"From the moment I stepped on campus, I sensed a special culture flowing through YSU," Kuberski said. "It was positive, passionate and inspiring. There is a commitment to win and to win the right way. I appreciate YSU's vision for growth and believe it aligns perfectly with my own. Penguin Bowling has a very solid foundation in place. I'm excited to get to work and build upon that foundation."
Kuberski served as the first men's and women's bowling head coach at Iowa Western Community College. He recruited the inaugural class of 20 bowlers as well as laid the administrative groundwork for the program. In addition to his instruction, he organized travel, managed the budget, ordered equipment, ran the team's website and social media, fundraised and engaged with the community.
Prior to his time at Iowa Western, he served as the interim head coach and an assistant coach at Arkansas State during the 2017-18 season. The Red Wolves went 27-12 in head-to-head matches under his watch and won the 2017 Warhawk Classic. While Kuberski was an assistant at Arkansas State alongside three-time NTCA Coach of the Year Justin Kostick, the team won the 2018 Southland Bowling League championship and went on to finish fifth at the NCAA National Championship tournament.
Kuberski's first collegiate coaching experience came in 2008 when he served as the bowling coach of the Texas A&M men's team, and he led the Aggies to a win at the Big XII Championship Tournament. He has served as a personal coach for 15 years.
Originally from Monroeville, Pa., he was an Academic All-American at Nebraska and helped the Huskers finish third at the 2003 Intercollegiate Bowling Championships. He has been coached by current Nebraska head coach Bill Straub as well as former Team USA head coach Jeri Edwards.
Before his time at Arkansas State, Kuberski spent six years as a political science professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He has a doctorate degree in political science from Texas A&M, a master's in political science from Akron and a bachelor's in history, political science and philosophy from Nebraska.