ZCHS Swim Coach, Scott Kubly:
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Laura Arick
It is with great pleasure that we feature Zionsville Community High School’s (ZCHS) head coach of boys and girls swimming and diving for 30 years, Scott Kubly.
Kubly was inducted into the Indiana Swimming & Diving Coaches Hall of Fame on April 14, 2019. During his tenure at ZCHS, the student athletes have won 12 individual state titles and three relay titles and have finished as runners-up in nine individual events and six relays.
Two of his swimmers have broken individual state records, and the 2017 200-yard Medley Relay set a national record. Three Zionsville swimmers have earned the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award.
The Zionsville girls team finished as IHSAA runners-up in 2012, and the boys team have finished as runners-up in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Kubly himself has received numerous IHSSCA Sectional Coach of the Year awards, is a two-time recipient of the IHSSCA Coach of the Year and is a three-time recipient of the Hoosier Crossroads Conference Coach of the Year.
Kubly has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Purdue University and a masters in education administration. When he’s not coaching student athletes along with his colleagues, Kubly teaches Geometry Honors and AP Calculus AB at ZCHS.
“I graduated from Purdue in December of 1988, and being [in December], I wasn’t expecting to find a teaching job, but I got lucky and I did,” Kubly said. “I ended up getting a position at Speedway [Schools], where I taught general math and analytical geometry. I knew going into it that it was going to be a one-and-done type of thing. The school didn’t promise me anything beyond May of that year.”
By way of the department chair at Speedway and a small twist of fate, Kubly was led to meet Orlin Coleman, athletic director for ZCHS at that time.
“It turned out that they needed a swim coach and a middle school math teacher,” Kubly shared. “I took the job, but I told them that I would like to eventually be at the high school, and they told me that Zionsville ‘might be growing’ and that they ‘might be adding some teachers.’ That was in 1989.”
Obviously, the prophecy came true, and Zionsville did grow a little bit. Perhaps it was his time at the middle school where Kubly’s incredible patience was cultivated.
“I taught sixth- and seventh-grade math for three years, and when the high school had an opening, I jumped on it and came over here,” Kubly said. “The girls swim season was in the fall and the boys was in the winter. They weren’t together like they are now. It made for a long season. At that point in time, I didn’t know how long I was going to do this as far as the coaching aspect went. As time went on, the program started growing, and the relationship between the high school team and the Zionsville Swim Club really started to grow, and in 2004 or 2005, they [Zionsville Swim Club] decided they were going to hire a full-time coach. They allowed me to be in a part of the interview because they wanted to establish a relationship between the club coach and the high school team and have the club feed the high school.”
The Zionsville Swim Club hired Darrick Thomas, who is now the head coach at Westfield High School.
“He set the foundation for what it took for this program to become a real competitive program,” Kubly stated. “That spilled into the high school because in 2006 the girls won their first sectional [title], and they haven’t lost one since. Darrick left, and we hired our current club coach, Eric Meyer, who took what Darrick established, and we have just thrived with his leadership of the club and with the full-time age group coach, which was initially Holly Day and is now Don Cozad. It’s just neat to see how the program has changed and evolved.”
Developing Student Athletes
Kubly shared what it takes to develop the athletes while balancing academics, swimming and life in general.
“The key word there is balance,” Kubly said. “That’s even from the coaching side of it too. It’s about the balance between treating the students as people and establishing a relationship with them. You want to talk with them about how they’re doing on the academic side of it, and on the other side, we’ve had some great things happen outside of the pool and we’ve had some not-so- great things happen where we’ve had to provide support for them too. We want to be there for our students for the good and the bad—whenever they need our support.”
Support of the Community
Running a successful swimming and diving program involves the students and coaches, but Kubly emphasized their success is also due in part to the support the program receives from the administration and parents.
“One of the things that I’ve always said is that I want this program to cause the least amount of headaches for the administration as possible,” Kubly quipped. “I do think that, from our end of it, that gives us support from the administration side of the program. From day one, the parents have been phenomenal. They are there for us through thick and thin and are there for the away meets. It’s a great culture.”
The Future of the Program
Looking toward the future of the program, Kubly said, “One of the goals is to maintain the quality of the program, and that comes from the coaches. We don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t be flexible, yet we want to maintain our standards that the kids from the past have gone through and [that we] expect from the upcoming students.”
While many of the swimmers are involved with the Zionsville Swim Club, Kubly shared that he and Coach Meyers would like to see more students involved, especially in the off-season. Kubly added that the coaches will continue to focus on developing and maintaining relationships with the swimmers.
“We want them to know that we are on their side,” Kubly stressed. “They need to know that no matter if they’re a state champion or swim in the JV meet at the end of the season, what they do at each end of the spectrum is important and each one of them matters. That inclusion is what gets passed on from season to season, and it’s what makes the Zionsville Swimming legacy so great.”
The Hall of Fame Induction
When asked what was going through his mind while he was inducted into the Indiana Swimming & Diving Coaches Hall of Fame, he replied, “Not deserving. The credit really goes to Eric and the club. We work together, and while he does a certain part of the program and I do another, we collaborate, and it works out very well.”
He shared a moment from the night of the induction banquet. “When I was sitting at the banquet and just kind of taking it all in, I was like, ‘Wow, who would’ve ever thought 30 years ago that we’d even be talking about anything like this.’ Even though I feel it’s undeserved, it has been pretty neat to see ZCHS represented in the Hall of Fame.”
Congratulations, Coach! Here’s a few words from your former swimmers:
“Coach Kubly is an incredible positive influence on the team. He always has a smile on his face and something encouraging to say! I really enjoyed my time being coached by him.”
“Scott Kubly was one of my favorite swim coaches because he genuinely loved swimming and wanted to see every single person on the team improve. Whether it was the swimmers who swam year-round or someone who was just trying it out for the year, he gave each person quality individual attention that made an enormous difference in at least my experience. He is a true lover of the sport and that always translated into his coaching of the high school team! He was also very supportive of me and my teammates while we swam at Purdue, and that always made us feel support from our team in Zionsville! He is an extremely worthy recipient of this hall of fame honor.”
“Kubs was a great coach during my time at Zionsville and even through my time at Purdue. He is always encouraging me, in and out of the pool. While I’ve been at Purdue with my fellow Zionsville teammates, he has always stayed in touch and shared his Purdue pride with us! I had the opportunity to be a student in one of his calculus classes as well—seeing him as both a coach and a teacher shows that he is extremely dedicated to helping his students and his athletes. He is always cracking jokes and making light-hearted conversation when we come back to visit, and I will miss our chats on the deck between practices now that I am retired from swimming. Kubs—congratulations on this major achievement! You deserve it, and I am happy to have been a part of your coaching legacy!”
“Coach Kubly was such a great coach and is extremely deserving of the hall of fame honor. Kubly is energetic, motivational, funny, and most importantly, he really gets to know his athletes. Kubly knows that swimming is so much more than just the sport. He makes great efforts to get to know his athletes and students personally and uses that knowledge to push his swimmers to be the best they can be. I am appreciative of the time and effort he constantly dedicates to his students and athletes. Kubly would not only focus on the best people on the team—he made it a goal to improve each member, no matter the skill level, and is responsible for a lot of the growth on the team. I feel grateful to have had his support throughout high school as my coach, and now his support while I swim at Purdue with other girls from Zionsville swimming. Congrats to Kubly on this amazing honor!”
“Scott Kubly has dedicated his life to the sport of swimming and is deserving of this recognition. Long hours in the pool teach life lessons, and Scott never misses an opportunity to do this. I still draw back on these experiences when I need to find strength and determination in my adult life. My fondest memories are moments spent with my teammates. Thanks, Scott!”