With Rigor and Mystique, Nebraska Builds a Bowling Dynasty

“It’s very old school,” said Shannon O’Keefe, who coaches the women’s team at Division II McKendree University, in western Illinois. “It’s what has worked for them, what works for them, so it’s hard to argue with.”

Yet, some still do. Justin Kostick, the coach at Arkansas State, speculated that some voters in February displaced Nebraska from the No. 1 ranking out of jealousy. Or, Kostick said, they disapprove of Straub’s methods, finding them too rigid.

Early in his coaching career, Straub said, he heard a rival coach disparage the Huskers by saying that they weren’t that good — they just don’t miss spares. One of the best compliments he ever received, he said.

“If you spare a lot, it’s like parring all the holes,” said Straub, summoning another golf analogy. “It’s difficult to be out of a golf match if you’re parring all the holes.”

That consistency can unnerve opponents. It also enhances Nebraska’s mystique.


Marikate Zabierek used binoculars to watch her sister, Briana Zabierek, a senior from Illinois, compete on the final day of the Big Red Invitational.

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