Valparaiso University director of athletics Mark LaBarbera announced today that Matt Nantais has been hired to serve as head coach of the Crusader bowling program.

“We are excited to welcome Matt to Valparaiso as our bowling head coach,” LaBarbera said.  “His experience coaching at Robert Morris last year, a high-level intercollegiate program, as well as his previous experiences coaching locally in the region will serve as great assets to our program moving forward.  We feel like Matt was the right choice to lead the way as we strive to build a championship bowling program here at Valparaiso University.”

Nantais comes to Valparaiso after most recently spending a season as an assistant coach for the women’s squad at Robert Morris. Nantais helped guide the Lady Eagles reach the top spot in the nation in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team national poll.  Robert Morris went on to close the season with a fifth-place finish at the National USBC Team Championships, as well as a third-place showing at the NAIA Team Championships.

Prior to joining the Robert Morris coaching staff, Nantais spent the 2009-2010 season as assistant coach for the Lake Central H.S. girl’s team, which placed fifth in the state.  During his year at Lake Central, he helped tutor current Crusader Kaity Galka.  Nantais also previously spent two seasons (2006-2008) as head coach of the boy’s team at North Newton H.S., and has served as a coach in the Stardust III (Dyer, Ind.) Junior Program since 1987.  He received his USBC Bronze Certification in June of 2008 and followed up by earning his Silver Certification in October of 2008.

“I am thoroughly excited about coming to Valparaiso as head coach of the bowling program,” said Nantais.  “I’ve known a few of the bowlers currently on the team and watched them bowl throughout high school, and it is exciting to get the opportunity to get them all together on one team.  With the talent we have in our program, I don't see why we can't be positioning ourselves to be competing for the national title.”

Valparaiso is entering its third season of intercollegiate competition, and has been ranked in the top-20 of the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) national poll in every poll that has come out since the program’s inception.  Last year’s Crusader squad closed the 2010-2011 season ranked 14th nationally.