Story Courtesy of WMU Media Relations
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, the hiring of Dave Kuzara as the sixth head coach of the Bronco gymnastics program. Kuzara brings various levels of coaching experience to WMU, having previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas, West Virginia University and the University of Michigan. Kuzara was also the head coach at University of Massachusetts for 10 seasons before UMass dropped the sport in 2002.
“The Western Michigan family welcomes Coach Kuzara, and we look forward to him leading our women’s gymnastics program into the future,” said WMU Athletics Director Kathy Beauregard. “His vast experience in the sport includes 10 years as a head coach and is highlighted by taking a team from its inception and building it into one of the top-five programs in the nation. The impact of Coach Kuzara returning to his home state of Michigan will have a widespread effect throughout the gymnastics community and we look forward to him teaching our student-athletes.”
“I would like to thank Mark and Rene’ Cook for a wonderful experience at Arkansas,” Kuzara said. “I wish them and the team my very best in their quest for a National Championship this season. Without Kathy Beauregard none of this would have taken place. I am inspired by her leadership and I hope to help bring Western Michigan Gymnastics into national prominence.”
Most recently, Kuzara was an assistant at the University of Arkansas, where he helped the Razorbacks to a program-best fifth place finish at the 2009 NCAA Championships. In 2008, Arkansas placed 10th at the NCAA Championships. Primarily in charge of coaching and developing floor exercise routines, the Razorback floor team was ranked in the top five all season and as high as No. 1 in 2009. Kuzara worked with three All-Americans on the floor during his time at Arkansas and was responsible for recruiting activities in Region 5 (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky).
Prior to his three seasons at Arkansas, he was an assistant at West Virginia from 2003-2006, helping the Mountaineers to the 2004 EAGL team title and three NCAA Regional appearances. Primarily an uneven bars coach at West Virginia, Kuzara’s bar workers only counted one fall during the entire 2006 season.
In addition to his duties in the gym, Kuzara assisted student-athletes in the classroom helping the Mountaineer gymnastics team improve its overall grade point average from a 2.6 to a 3.34. In addition, the program posted seven NACGC/W academic all-scholars in 2005 and had nine in 2006.
Kuzara has 10 years of head coaching experience at the University of Massachusetts where he built a 100-68 career record. His UMass teams back-to-back Atlantic 10 team titles (1996, 1997) and had five runner-up finishes during his tenure. He qualified individuals to NCAA Nationals on four different occasions and his teams qualified to the NCAA Regionals nine out of 10 years. Kuzara coached Jill Fisher to a third place finish on the floor at the NCAA Championships, on her way to First Team All-American status. Academically, UMass garnered 35 NACGC Academic All-America recognitions. Kuzara was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002. UMass dropped six sports including women’s gymnastics in 2002.
Kuzara also served as an assistant coach at Michigan from 1991-93, where he helped the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles (1992, 1993) and its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in 1993. Kuzara was named 1992 NCAA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year. He helped oversee the development of Beth Wymer, who became U-M’s first national champion on the uneven bars in the ’93 season.
From 1980-1991, Kuzara worked as a private club gymnastics coach.
Kuzara obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1980. He started his undergrad coursework at Western Michigan, where he attended for one year.
Kuzara and his partner Natasha Brande have a daughter, Izabelle.
Kuzara takes over the Bronco gymnastics program from former head coach Terry Karwoski, who vacated the role in early September to accept an assistant coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh. Western Michigan finished the 2009 campaign with a record of 2-15, 0-6 in the Mid-American Conference, and finished seventh at the conference championships.