WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University alum and former Bison student-athlete Kevin Kovacs has been selected as the new men’s basketball head coach as announced by Athletic Director Michael Weinstock. Kovacs will begin his new duties on August 17.
"It is great to welcome Kevin back to the Gallaudet community. I love his energy and motivation that he will bring to our men’s basketball program," said Weinstock. "I have watched him coach, several times, I am impressed with how he manages the game. He has an excellent basketball IQ. Plus, his character fits the NCAA Division III philosophy that we embrace here."
Kovacs arrives to Gallaudet from California School for the Deaf-Fremont where he was Athletic Director for eight years (2007-15) and served as the boys’ basketball head coach the past two seasons. He was named Coach of the Year after California School for the Deaf-Fremont won the North Coast section title in 2014.
"It is a tremendous honor to come back to a wonderful place like Gallaudet University and lead the men’s basketball program. I truly am excited about the opportunity to work with the student-athletes and help them chase their dreams and goals," said Kovacs.
Recently, he served as an assistant coach on the USA Deaf Basketball men’s team that earned a silver medal at the 2015 World Deaf Basketball Championships in Taoyuan, Taiwan, held from July 4-12. There he had a chance to coach and interact with current and former Bison student-athletes.
"My international coaching experience has been great. It has allowed us to work together as a nation as opposed to a school or club," said Kovacs. "Our experience in Taiwan will definitely help us down the road as we work hard towards our goal in bringing back the gold at the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey."
Kovacs inherits a Gallaudet men’s basketball team coming off its best season in school history where the Bison set a school record for wins (18), conference wins (14) and broke a 98-year-old school mark for consecutive wins with 10. The Bison went 18-7 and advanced to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) quarterfinals. Kovacs takes over for former head coach Brendan Stern, who stepped down after three seasons to accept a full-time tenure-track position at Gallaudet.
"Coach Stern and his assistant obviously did a tremendous job last year. Our goal will be to build on the success from last season," said Kovacs. "The goal will be to outwork everyone to give ourselves the chance to be the first-ever Gallaudet men’s basketball team to make the NCAA tournament. I know that is a lofty goal but I think these young men deserve that opportunity to achieve that goal."
Kovacs graduated from Gallaudet in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in government and secondary education. Two years later, he earned his master’s in deaf education. As an undergraduate he played one season for the Gallaudet men’s basketball team in 1994-95. He served as a Gallaudet men’s basketball assistant coach for two seasons (1995-97).
"It means a lot to come back to the University that I love and once played and coached for," said Kovacs. "Gallaudet is certainly a one of a kind that no other University in the world can match. If it were not for my experiences at Gallaudet University as a student-athlete, I can promise that I would not be here today."
Prior to working at California School for the Deaf-Fremont, Kovacs worked as an elementary teacher and after school coordinator at the Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minn., from 1997-2007. He worked as a high school social studies teacher and athletic director at Metro Deaf School during 2006-07. Kovacs has also coached boys’ and girls’ basketball at various levels (elementary, middle, high school) from 1997 to present.
Kovacs is married to Estella Bustamante, who graduated from Gallaudet in 1991, and they have two children (Esteban and Estelina). The Kovacs family has quite the legacy at Gallaudet as Kevin’s brothers Jon '99 and Ty '00 and sister Dyan ’98 along with their mother, Susan Kovacs-Bahl '97, attended and graduated from GU. Dyan Kovacs is a member of the Gallaudet University Athletics Hall of Fame as she was inducted in 2014 for her outstanding women’s volleyball career.
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.