Palm Beach Atlantic University Director of Athletics Carolyn Stone announced Tuesday that David Balza has been named head coach for the men’s Division II basketball program. A veteran collegiate coach with more than 20 years of experience, Balza officially begins his duties in May.
Balza has spent a majority of his coaching career in NCAA Division II with head coaching stints at Florida Gulf Coast University (2001-11) and Saint Joseph’s College (1998-01). He started the FGCU program.
His leadership of the Eagles as a young NCAA Division II member saw the program experience early success as a South Region Independent. Balza’s teams were 114-39 in their five years at the Division II level before making the decision to transition to Division I.
Balza arrives at PBA following two seasons as head coach at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn. where he twice guided the Vikings to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) tournament championship game. His first year at BLC, the program earned its first-ever UMAC regular season conference championship.
“It is with great excitement that we welcome David Balza to our staff,” Stone said. “Coach Balza’s experience and success in rebuilding programs, developing men of character, and engaging the community make him a natural fit for the Sailfish.”
“Coach Balza has an outstanding Division II record and has shown he knows how to grow a program,” said PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr. “Over two decades, Coach Balza has shown himself to be the type of coach who can put together a winning program with character as its centerpiece. His team motto – ‘I will give of myself for the team today’ -- speaks directly to our core values in Sailfish Athletics.”
Balza has always prided himself on the development of student-athletes on and off the court. During his time at Florida Gulf Coast, Balza coached the institution’s first-ever Academic All-American first-team selection. His teams have also been active in their local communities with an emphasis on incorporating spiritual development as a part of the overall student-athlete experience.
“I am extremely grateful and excited to be joining Palm Beach Atlantic University as their new head men's basketball coach,” Balza said. “I would like to thank President Fleming and Athletic Director Carolyn Stone, under whose leadership Palm Beach Atlantic University appears primed for a period of unprecedented success. I look forward to building a program that our students and community will be proud of and rally behind.
“My family and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of such a tremendous institution and we look forward to serving the Lord in this new direction that He has led us,” said Balza.
Beyond his time as a collegiate head coach, Balza also spent time as an assistant with Ashland University (1996-98) and Cleveland State University (1991-96) before landing his first head coaching job at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.
Balza is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he served as a student assistant for the Wolverines’ men’s basketball program. Along with earning his degree in Physical Education he was also a part of the 1989 NCAA Division I National Championship team at UM. He would go on to obtain his master’s degree from Cleveland State University.
Balza will be taking over a Sailfish men’s basketball program that finished last season with a record of 1-24. Coach Balza will be introduced to the PBA community at a press conference next week.
David and his wife, Karrie, have two children, Faith and Jack.