Damian Stambersky returns to Pueblo, as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Paul Plinske has announced him as the next Colorado State University Pueblo Baseball Head Coach, Tuesday.
"I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead the CSU Pueblo Baseball Program," Stambersky said. "My family and staff are excited to return to Pueblo and begin the process of growing this program to not only RMAC recognition, but national status. We want to bring a sense of pride to this special baseball community and we will do so with a workman's type of approach."
Following the retirement of long-time coach, Stan Sanchez, CSU Pueblo began a national search that attracted 177 highly qualified applicants. "In my 16 years as an athletic director, this was arguably the deepest and most talented group of candidates I have ever seen," Plinske said. "Picking one was incredibly difficult, but my focus remained on hiring the best person for the immediate and long-term of this historic and successful program."
Stambersky comes to CSU Pueblo after six seasons at University of Central Missouri as the top assistant and pitching coach for a Mules program that produced a 210-91 overall record (.700 winning percentage). UCM placed third at the 2019 NCAA Division II World Series and was also a World Series qualifier in 2016. Central Missouri was NCAA regional qualifiers in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
"First and foremost, Damian is a tremendous person with high character and a consistent and warrior work ethic," said Kyle Crookes, Central Missouri Head Baseball Coach. "He came in and added something to a UCM program that is historically strong and he did it through knowledge, understanding and implementation of a plan and a system through effective communication. He took the talent that was already at Central Missouri and helped the student-athletes reach their maximum potential. He is incredibly intelligent and knows things that a large part of the baseball world doesn't know."
Some of his primary duties as top assistant coach were to coordinate and implement all recruiting efforts. He was responsible for all advanced scouting and defensive game planning and ran all prospect and youth baseball camps. As the pitching coach, he designed individual pitching development plans, managed pitching staff usage and created individual strength and conditioning plans for the pitchers.
Under Stambersky's tutelage, the pitching staff led the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in earned run average and strikeouts in 2016, 2018 and 2019 and was second in 2015 and 2017. The Mules were leading the conference in ERA through 23 games in 2020. Two Central Missouri pitchers were drafted in 2016 and five others have inked professional contracts. Stambersky recruited and coached three All-Americans in 2019.
"Damian hails from one of the most successful Division II baseball programs in the country," Plinske said. "His ideas and vision for Pack baseball and the Pueblo community made it very clear that he is the best fit for our program. We aspire to win championships while developing champions. Our recent facility upgrades, commitment to Pack baseball and selection of Coach Stambersky make us really excited for the future."
"We are excited to get to work. We will BE ELITE and Go Pack!"
The 2019 Central Missouri team ERA of 3.86 was the second lowest under Stambersky. Opponents hit just .227 off Mule pitching, which also led the MIAA and they struck out an MIAA best 562 batters. Three Mule pitchers were named to the All-MIAA team. In 10 NCAA postseason games, the Mules posted a 2.70 ERA.
In 2018, UCM won the MIAA Tournament and advanced to the regional championships. The Mules led the conference with a 4.20 ERA. They also led the league in WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and were second in walks allowed per nine innings. The Mules in 2017 were second in the MIAA in pitching with an ERA of 4.07.
In 2016, the Mules hurled a league-best ERA of 3.74, which also ranked top 25 in Division II. The pitching staff was also tops in the MIAA and second in the nation with nine shutouts. Five of his pitchers earned All-MIAA honors, while four went on to the professional ranks following the season. Grant Gavin was drafted in the 29th round by the Kansas City Royals, and Lucas Williams was selected in round No. 40 by the Houston Astros. Ethan Westphal signed a free agent contract with the Colorado Rockies and Tyler House signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In his first season, the Mules were second in the MIAA in ERA with a final mark of 4.26.
Prior to Central Missouri, Stambersky spent 11 seasons at Kansas City Kansas Community College, which competes at the National Junior College Athletics Association Division I level.
Stambersky was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Blue Devils, while also serving as an adjunct instructor in the social sciences department. During his time at KCKCC, nine players went on to play NCAA Division I baseball and four players went on to play professionally. From 2010-14 he was the head baseball coach in premier tournaments for the Building Champions Baseball Academy.
Before Kansas City Kansas CC, Stambersky spent four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, helping them to a school record 33 wins in 2000. The Trojans compiled 108 wins during his four years with the program. He also spent one season as the head coach of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers in the Alaska Summer Baseball League.
He earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship from Arkansas-Little Rock in 2000 after a two-year playing career and a master's degree in Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2007.
Stambersky's mother graduated from Pueblo Central High School and his father was stationed in Fort Carson. The two met and were married in Pueblo. Damian spent his summer's growing up across from the State Fairgrounds on Van Buren Street and playing baseball at Runyon Field.
He and his wife Valerie have a son Taylor (12), and a daughter, Tyler Rose (10).