Kent State Names Don Gromala As Head Volleyball Coach
Gromala takes over after serving on Geoff Carlston's Ohio State staff for the past four years
KENT, Ohio – Kent State University Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen announced Don Gromala as the Golden Flashes' eighth head volleyball coach Tuesday (April 17). A nine-year coaching veteran, Gromala is deep rooted in the tradition of midwest volleyball having spent the past four seasons an assistant coach at perennial top-25 power Ohio State and four years at Ohio University.
"We are excited to have Don on board and look forward to having him become part of the tradition of success set forth by Kent State athletics both on the court and in the classroom," said Nielsen. "He has been around winning programs his entire career and has knowledge of what it takes to get to the top of the Mid-American Conference from his days at Ohio."
A prodigy of Ohio State Head Coach Geoff Carlston, Gromala brings a wealth of coaching experience to the head seat on the Kent State bench – including helping to mentor the Buckeyes to back-to-back NCAA Championship Sweet 16 appearances the last two seasons. He agreed to a four year deal that runs through the 2015-16 academic year.
"First I would like to thank Joel Nielsen and Cathy O'Donnell for giving me the honor of being the next leader of the Kent State Volleyball program," said the 35-year old Gromala. "The team is fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and passionate people within the department and throughout the university's community."
"As we move forward we hope to reach the high level of success and respect that other Golden Flashes athletic programs have established over the years. I also would like to thank the OSU staff, and Coach Carlston for being such an outstanding mentor to me over the past eight years."
While in Columbus, he assisted with all aspects of the Ohio State program, including training outside hitters and setters, scouting opponents and directing camps and clinics. In all, Gromala oversaw the development of three American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans, six AVCA Mideast All-Region honorees six All-Big Ten Conference picks and 26 Academic All-Big Ten recipients.
Gromala is no stranger to the MAC having spent four years at Ohio where he was part of a four year stretch in which the Bobcats compiled a 116-17 (.872) overall record and a 63-1 (.984) mark in the league. In Athens he worked two years as an assistant coach following two seasons as a graduate assistant. During his tenure, the Bobcats also captured four MAC Tournament crowns and played in four NCAA Tournaments including a NCAA sweet 16 appearance in 2005.
After growing up just outside of Chicago, Gromala got his NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball coaching start at Iowa State, working as a volunteer assistant coach for his alma mater during the 2003 season as the Cyclones put together their best finish in nearly 10 years.
Before his stint on the Iowa State staff, Gromala spent 2000-03 as an assistant at Des Moines Area Community College, coaching an NJCAA All-America pick and helping lead the squad to a sixth-place finish in the NJCAA Nationals.
A 2004 graduate of Iowa State with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, Gromala both played for and coached the school's men's club volleyball team. The team posted four NIRSA Top 25 finishes during Gromala's tenure as head coach from 1999-2004. Gromala was a two-time all-conference selection and served as team captain during his playing days from 1998-2001.
Gromala also has coaching experience at the club level, serving as the head coach for Iowa Power Volleyball Alliance from 2003-04, leading the team to a fourth-place finish in the Iowa Regional. He also led the Cyclone Clylect Juniors Volleyball Club to its first Junior Olympic National Tournament after winning the Northern Lights Qualifier.
A native of Mt. Prospect, Ill., Gromala is engaged to Meredith Rice.
The Don Gromala File
Hometown: Mt. Prospect, Ill.
Alma Mater: Iowa State, '04 -- B.A. in Liberal Studies
2012-present: Kent State University -- Head Coach
2008-11: Ohio State University -- Assistant Coach
2006-07: Ohio University -- Assistant Coach
2004-05: Ohio University -- Graduate Assistant Coach
2003: Iowa State University -- Volunteer Assistant Coach
2000-03: Des Moines Area Community College -- Assistant Coach
1999-04: Iowa State University -- Men's Club Team Head Coach