Gulf Coast hires Kuhn to lead softball program
PERKINSTON — When Mississippi Gulf Coast’s softball head coach position came open upon the re-retirement of Kenneth Long, the school’s search singled out somebody unique.
The Bulldogs are replacing the winningest coach in school and conference history with David Kuhn, who is the winningest coach in school history at two different NCAA colleges.
“I’m really excited,” Kuhn said. “Gulf Coast has a great softball program established and built there by Coach Long. I’m honored and humbled to be following in his footsteps and continuing to build the program.”
Gulf Coast Athletic Director Steven Campbell said the search focused on somebody with high character, a passion for softball, and a proven record of success and championships. MGCCC is getting a good role model for our students and the community and someone who will build strong and healthy relationships with the coaches, administrators, and student-athletes they will be tasked with serving.
“I have no doubt that David Kuhn is just what we need; he just brings so much to the table,” Campbell said. “We are talking about someone who is the winningest coach in the history of two major university softball programs, has averaged over 30 wins per year over the course of his career, and most importantly has the unique ability to build relationships and make a positive impact on the communities that he has lived in. I can’t say enough great things about David, we are lucky to have him and the rest of his family join ours.”
He brings more than 700 wins at the four-year level to Perkinston. Even counting the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Air Force veteran has averaged 30 wins per season.
Kuhn (pronounced “Q-un”) spent the last 13 seasons at NCAA Division I Central Arkansas, where the Bears won the 2015 Southland Conference Tournament title. His teams went 380-328 and beat Top-25 teams six times. The Bears made the conference tournament the last 10 years, one of only two SLC schools to do so. UCA went 37-19 overall, 21-6 in conference in 2021, reaching the SLC Tournament championship game.
He took over the UCA job with two years left on the program’s transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. Three years later, the Bears had their first winning season at D-I and have gone 305-236 since.
His 2020 team featured the NCAA leader in stolen bases and a pitching staff which tied for fourth in the country with 10 shutouts in 27 games.
“We’ll be a team that plays hard and plays fast,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some speed. We’re gonna play fast, move fast and play quick. We want to keep people on the edge of their seats. We’re not going to be putting people to sleep in the stands, that’s for sure.”
Kuhn is also the winningest coach in Delta State history, where he spent 10 seasons at his alma mater. The NCAA Division II Statesmen didn’t have a losing season in that span, winning 62 percent of their games. Delta State went to the Gulf South Conference Tournament every year and made its first NCAA Regional.
He coached high school baseball and softball at the Washington School in Greenville, Miss., before returning to Delta State as the head softball coach. He’d been a graduate assistant baseball coach while completing his master’s degree there.
He got his bachelor’s at DSU before serving as head softball and baseball coach at Greenville Christian.
“There’s nothing like experience,” Kuhn said. “I’ve been coaching for 27 years, and whether it’s been high school or junior high or Division II, Division I, I think coaching is coaching. Teachers can teach, and I think I’ve been very blessed to have opportunities to teach and coach at a bunch of different levels. I just like to bank on my experience and keep trying to learn every day.”
Kuhn served in the U.S. Air Force for four years from 1987-91. He was stationed in Arkansas, Iceland and North Dakota during his time in security police.
Kuhn and his wife Sharon have two daughters, Taylor and Cheyenne, who played for him at Central Arkansas. Taylor is the head coach at Lyon College in Arkansas, and Cheyenne is an assistant softball and volleyball coach at Conway (Ark.) Junior High.
“I’m just really excited about this opportunity for my family,” he said. “I’m thankful for Gulf Coast and the committee and administration giving me this opportunity. I’m pumped. I’m super excited.”
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