DAVID KUHN SOFTBALL CAMPS
In his 8 seasons in Conway, David Kuhn has transformed the Central Arkansas softball program from one struggling in its transition from Division II into a consistent Southland Conference power. The league's winningest coach over the last five seasons with 169, Kuhn has averaged more than 30 wins per season during his career at Central Arkansas – a program that had averaged just 14 wins per season prior to his arrival.
He has built a program that is one of only two to make each of the last 5 Southland Conference tournaments (which takes just 6 of the league's 12 teams), and guided the Bears to their highest point in 2015 with their first Southland tournament championship and NCAA Regionals appearance.
A year after their run to the regionals and replacing three starters including the Southland tournament MVP, the Bears reached 35 wins for 4th time in 5 seasons in 2016 – making them one of just two Southland programs to win at least 25 in each of the last five seasons. They scored their third win over a ranked opponent during Kuhn's tenure – shutting out Mississippi State on March 23rd – and advanced to postseason play with their 5th straight Southland Conference Tournament appearance. During the season, Kuhn reached the 600-win milestone with the Bears' 3-0 victory over Jackson State, and saw his senior class break 13 individual program career records – including home runs, RBI, hits, runs, on-base percentage, total bases, doubles, walks, hit by pitch, sacrifice flies, games played, games started and at-bats.
That record-setting group was the latest in a long line of standouts in Kuhn’s time at Central Arkansas, as the Bears have had an all-american; 6 all-region selections; 5 academic all-district selections; 41 all-Southland Conference selections; 15 Southland all-academic selections; 2 Southland Newcomers of the Year; a Southland Pitcher of the Year; a Southland Hitter of the Year; a Southland Tournament MVP; 7 Southland all-tournament selections; and 30 Southland Players of the Week during his tenure.
During his first five seasons, the Bears improved their win total each season, peaking with 38 in 2013 and averaging 30 wins per season over the five-year span. In 2012 and 2013, the program had its best two-year run to date, winning 74 games. The Bears nearly equaled that total from 2015-2016, winning 70 while playing numerous Top 25 & NCAA Regional opponents. The best two-year span prior to Kuhn's arrival was just 55 wins in 1999 & 2000.
Kuhn became the winningest coach in program history during a 2015 season in which the Bears swept their way through the Southland tournament to earn a spot in the Oklahoma Regional of the NCAA championship – the latest in a long series of firsts for the program under Kuhn’s guidance. The Bears reached the 35-win plateau for the 3rd time in 4 seasons in 2015, going 4-0 in the Southland Conference tournament including a win over two-time defending champion and host Northwestern State to claim the title. The Bears broke school records with a .395 on-base percentage, 251 walks, 45 HBPs, and a program Division-I record 79 stolen bases, and led the Southland Conference in fielding percentage at .966. The Bears had the league’s leading strikeout pitcher for the 5th straight year, and the leader in shutouts for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.
In 2014, replacing the most successful pitcher and two of the most storied hitters in program history while facing 11 teams that played in the 2013 NCAA Regionals, the Bears' win total took a slight dip though they were still able to qualify for the 6-team Southland tournament and advance with a 1st-round win for the second straight season.
The season also saw the development of a young squad, with the Bears having two sophomores and a freshman named to the All-Southland teams and junior transfer pitcher Kylee Studioso named both 1st team all-conference and the league's Newcomer of the Year.
In 2013, the Bears won 38 games and made their deepest run to date in the Southland Conference tournament, knocking off the No. 1 seed before being eliminated on the final day. Among their wins were a shutout victory over No. 18 Tulsa, Ole Miss, and four victories over NCAA Tournament teams. Five Bears were named All-Southland Conference, including Pitcher of the Year Kelsie Armstrong – who finished the season ranked 4th nationally with 366 strikeouts.
The 2013 Bears broke seven school offensive records, including slugging pct. (.444), runs (303), RBI (275), hits (474), doubles (101), total bases (702), and bases on balls (148), and set new pitching marks for wins (38) and strikeouts (415).
In 2012, Kuhn led the Bears to what was then the best season in school history with a record of 36-22 and first Southland Conference Tournament appearance. The Bears defeated Ole Miss and Boston College for the first wins over SEC and ACC teams in softball. The 2012 team set 11 school offensive records, including batting avg (.306), hbp (43), and sac flies (21). The 2012 pitching staff set three school records as well. The Bears also had several awards with 8 All-Southland players, 1 honorable mention, 8 players of the week awards and 8 All-SLC players, 1 honorable mention, 8 player of the week awards
In his third season, Kuhn finished 26-31 in 2011, it was the first time softball had three 24 wins or more seasons in a row. The 26 wins tied for second for the most in school history. UCA defeated No. 23 Houston for the first victory over a ranked team in D-I. UCA set a school records for hits (406). The 2011 squad also produced the program’s first-ever All-American, two 1st-team NFCA All-Region players, the Southland's Conference Hitter of the Year, 3 All-Southland selections and one honorable mention.
In his second year, Kuhn led the bears to a 25-31 record in 2010. This was the first back-to-back 20 win seasons for UCA since 2001-02. The 2010 team set several school records, including runs (232), hits (405), doubles (81), home runs (39), RBI (212), total bases (615), pitcher strikeouts (332) and fielding percentage (.965). The 2010 squad also had the most All-Southland Conference selections in school history with (5) and the first Division I NFCA All-Region Team selection for the Bears.
In his first season at UCA, the Bears finished 24-31. The 2009 Bears went 15-16 in the Southland Conference, the most conference wins the Bears had had since joining the SLC in 2006. The 2009 squad also set the school record for highest single season fielding percentage (.962) and fewest errors (58). They produced the Southland's Newcomer of the Year, two All-Southland Conference third team members and one honorable mention.
Kuhn came to UCA after a 10-year stint at Division II powerhouse Delta State University, where he averaged 35 wins over his final 7 seasons. His career record with the Lady Statesmen was 368-222, making him the winningest coach in Delta State history. While at DSU, Kuhn coached two All-Americans, 21 All-Region and 64 All-Gulf South Conference selections. He was named the GSC West Division Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006 after guiding the Lady Statesmen to back-to-back division titles, and was the first coach from a Gulf South Conference Western Division school to guide his team to the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, the Lady Statesmen finished 42-17. DSU advanced to the NCAA Division II South Regional hosted by Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla.
The Greenville, Miss. native is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He and his wife Sharon have two daughters – Taylor and Cheyenne – both students at Central Arkansas.