Red Wolf Kingpin
Justin Kostick is going into his sixth year as the women’s bowling head coach, and has been a game changer for the Red Wolves bowling team.
He has led the women into two No. 1 ranked seasons for the first time in school history, and is only the second head coach in the history of the A-State bowling program, which began in the 2004-05 season.
This year they ranked fifth in the NCAA Championship after being ranked No. 1 for the entire season. Kostick has led the women to a national championship appearance every year since he has been A-State’s head coach and has had more than a handful of girls named to the NTCA All-American teams.
Kostick is originally from Centralia, Wash., a small town of about 16,000 people where he was raised in a family of bowlers. His grandfather and father owned an 18 lane bowling center in his hometown.
His stepfather, Hugh Miller, was the 40th person to make a million dollars on the PBA tour. He has seven titles and has made multiple appearances on TV shows in the ‘80s and ‘90s when bowling was on ABC.
His cousin Darylee Cox also won two national titles on the PBA tours in the early ‘60s. He was the first person from the state of Washington to ever win a national title.
Kostick has been immersed in the bowling world from the day since he was a young child.
“I started bowling before I was even my own son’s age,” he said.
His grandpa was a mechanic for his great grandfather, who built an eight lane bowling center named Rock N’ Roll Bowl in a town called Mossyrock. That was really only the beginning for the family’s bowling legacy.
Kostick went on to the University of Nebraska where he competed for the University of Nebraska men’s bowling team from 1999-2004 and was coached by two-time PBA Champion Bill Straub, who was good friends with his stepfather.
His wife Christina, originally from San Diego, also bowled at Nebraska for the women’s NCAA team, what Kostick called the “powerhouse” for bowling. Christina now works for Arkansas State University’s financial aid office.
“She’s really good! It depends if the lanes are a little softer. Then, I’ll strike more, but she’s a little more accurate than I am,” Kostick said.
Before coming to A-State, Kostick served as the men’s head bowling coach at the University of Nebraska from 2004-06, leading the Cornhuskers to a top-five finish at the 2004 USBC Intercollegiate Team championships, three other tournament titles and six second-place tournament finishes.
An accomplished bowler, Kostick boasts five perfect games. In February of 2008 he bowled two perfect games back-to-back; not only this, but he bowled 29 strikes in the tournament. He has posted a high series of 825 and is a two-time Washington State Champion at the Pepsi Youth Championships.
In 1997, he finished eighth at the National Pepsi Youth Championships. In 1998, Kostick won the Junior Olympic Gold Qualifier tournament and placed 45th at the Junior Olympic Gold tournament later that year.
His biggest moment was when he won the 1997 Pacific Coast Championship in San Francisco when he was only 16.
“I played baseball in high school but I quit to focus on bowling. I liked that it was an individual sport, someone couldn’t tell me whether I wasn’t good enough,” Kostick said.
In August of 2009 Kostick and his wife moved to Jonesboro when the bowling head coach position opened up.
“Arkansas State University is a great opportunity. It’s an FBS program, which means we have some greater advantages to supply our athletes with the things they need to be competitive and high quality athletes. It’s also an up and coming school and I’m the person that likes to build something, and I’ve been able to build a good program here,” Kostick said.
Kostick said he loves the sport because of the opportunity that it gives his athletes. He has had girls that go to the Junior Olympic Gold in Indianapolis, Buffalo, Orlando and even Vegas one year. Kostick gets to relish in the game that he loves every day. Better than that, his athletes enjoy bowling as much as they enjoy having Kostick as a coach.12
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