By John Ostapowicz
Over four years, head coach of the Youngstown State University bowling team, Doug Kuberski, has redefined the program.
In the 2022-23 season, Kuberski led the program to its best head-to-head record in school history. In the regular season, the Penguins went 78-39 over nine regular-season tournaments.
So far, the team is averaging a school record of 200.21 pins in Baker matches and are close to breaking the school record in traditional games at 199.34 pins.
Since arriving at Youngstown State in 2018, Kuberski has been named the Southland Bowling League Coach of the Year twice and the NCAA Division I Coach of the year by the National Tenpin Coaches Association in the 2019-20 season.
Beside the accolades, Kuberski has led the Penguins to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He also helped the team earn its first spot in the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship and competed in the final four.
Under Kuberksi’s coaching, the Penguins posted their sixth-best GPA in the country in 2019-20, the third best in 2020-21 and the second-best in 2021-22. In 2021, former Penguin Sarah Florence received the Elite 90 award which goes to the highest cumulative GPA of student-athletes.
Prior to Youngstown State, Kuberski grew up in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and attended The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
At Nebraska, he was a part of the men’s bowling club and was coached by two-time Professional Bowling Association champion, Bill Straub.
During his span at Nebraska from 1999-2003, Kuberski helped lead the team to a third-place finish at the 2003 Intercollegiate Bowling Championships.
“It was a special season for us there and has really played a role in my coaching,” Kuberski said. “The closer you got, the better you bowled.”
After Kuberski graduated from Nebraska in 2003, he was the interim head coach of the men’s bowling team at Texas A&M University in 2008. He led the squad to the Big 12 conference title.
Kuberski departed from Texas A&M after a semester of volunteer work for the team. He served as the interim head coach and the assistant head coach at Arkansas State during the 2017-18 season.
The Red Wolves went on to finish 27-12, won the the 2018 Southland Bowling League Championship and finished fifth at the NCAA National Championship tournament.
After a brief tenure at Arkansas, Kuberski received a job offer from Iowa Western Community College in which he managed, coached and introduced the men and women’s bowling program to the school.
Within a few weeks of taking over at Youngstown State during the 2018-19 season, Kuberski made an impact with three wins over top teams. In team play, the Penguins finished with a 14-6.
“We had a great spring [semester] in 2019 that set up our evolution as a program for the last three years,” Kuberski said.
The following season, the team quickly gained national traction and was ranked 10th before the year was cut short because of the pandemic.
Despite the shortened season, former Penguin Nikki Mendez set a school record in season average, while former Penguin Emma Wrenn set a new school record with a 19.82 in Baker frame average and became YSU’s first tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
During the 2020-21 season, the team jumped over obstacles because of the pandemic but still earned a spot in the NCAA bowling tournament. At the time, freshman Madyson Marx led the country in Baker Double Match percentage and set a new school record.
In Kuberski’s third full season, the Penguins advanced to the NCAA Regionals and had a runner-up finish at the Southland Bowling League Championship.
The team recorded 48 wins over top-25 teams during the season and 20 wins over opponents ranked in the top 10.
During the same season, Youngstown State broke eight school records as well as the programs first 300 game. Individually, Wrenn set nine of the 12 single-season records in the program’s record book.
When the 2022-23 season concludes, Kuberski will start his fifth season with the program. Over that span, he has turned the bowling team into a top contender.
“It doesn’t feel like it, it has gone by quickly in many respects,” Kuberski said. “ I’m proud of everything we’ve done and I’m just a small part of that.”
This season alone, the bowling team has set several new records and is on pace to break three more at the NCAA Bowling Regionals.
The coach of the year will see his team return to the regionals for the third consecutive time this upcoming season.
To follow the bowling team and its journey, check out ysusports.com