In his four seasons at JU, Kupferberg has increased the yearly win percentage for the Dolphins each season while also leading the program to consecutive appearances in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Final - which had never happened since the program began conference play in 1983.
The program has also been a success in the classroom under his tenure by winning the AVCA Academic Award in back-to-back seasons (2008, 2009) due to the team GPA finishing above 3.5 for four consecutive semesters.
Last season, the squad finished with a 19-9 mark to record the highest winning percentage (.679) and the lowest loss total in the Division I era. Adding the 2009 percentage to 2008 (.667), Kupferberg has now led the program to its most successful back-to-back seasons since 1982 (.682) & 1983 (.795).
The Dolphins reached the A-Sun Tournament as the No. 2 seed but were eliminated in the semifinals by host FGCU. Despite the unfortunate exit, senior libero Shelley Walroth finished her stellar career as one of the top defensive players in NCAA history. After earning A-Sun “Defensive Player of the Year” and “Libero of the Year” Honorable Mention honors by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU) for the second straight year, Walroth finished fifth in the NCAA career standings in both digs (2,456) and digs per set (5.53).
Along with Walroth, senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton (first team), senior middle blocker Nicki Kent (second team) and freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky (freshman team) also earned all-conference accolades.
Overall, the squad ranked as one of the top defensive teams in the conference by finishing first in opponent hitting percentage (.147), second in digs (1.65 dps) and third in blocks (1.96 bps). The Dolphins also ranked second in assists (12 aps), kills (12.87 kps), service aces (1.65 aps) and third in hitting percentage (.218).
In his third year, the Dolphins reached 20 wins for the first time since 1988 and finished with their second lowest loss total in the Division I era.
Despite falling one set short of its third-consecutive A-Sun Championship match, senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf became the fifth Dolphin in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills while Walroth earned “Libero of the Year” Honorable Mention honors by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU) after ranking fourth in the nation with an average of 5.87 digs per set.
Bendorf and Walroth, who was also named A-Sun “Defensive Player of the Year,” were the first JU duo to earn first team all-conference honors in program history.
Overall, the Dolphins continued to rank as the top defensive team in the A-Sun by leading the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.142) and blocks (2.17 bps) while ranking second in digs (15.86 dps).
Individually, sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher led the A-Sun in blocks per set (1.12) while Walroth set the standard in digs per set en route to rewriting the JU career digs record with 1,871.
The squad’s success on the court also transcended to the classroom where the Dolphins registered an overall team gpa of 3.53 to earn AVCA Academic Team honors.
In his second season, his success continued to grow as the Dolphins reached the 19-win plateau for the first time since 1997, tied a program record with eight conference wins and tallied a seven-match winning streak (the longest under his tenure).
Fielding one of the youngest squads in the nation, Kupferberg got his squad clicking at the right time as his Dolphins won seven of their last nine matches en route to the A-Sun Tourney Final.
Individually, senior middle hitter Melissa Merchant (first team) and Bendorf (second team) became the first JU duo to earn all-conference honors since 2002. Including the three all-freshman selections of setter Hannah Munneke, Gruenbacher and outside hitter Aidan Yeager, it was the most all-conference honorees for JU since joining the A-Sun in 1998.
Merchant, who set a JU match record with 15 blocks, finished the regular season ranked 12th in the nation in blocks per game and set a conference single-season record with 175 blocks. Munneke set the new single-season assists record (1,356) while Walroth, who set a four-game match record with 35 digs against ETSU, broke her own single-season dig record with 672.
In the program record books, the squad set new team match records for total blocks (23 – vs. New Orleans) and service aces (19 – vs. Savannah State).
In his first year, Kupferberg went through growing pains with his new squad but eventually enjoyed the fruits of his labor at the end of the season as JU advanced to the A-Sun Tournament finals for only the second time in program history.
Senior middle hitter Stevenique Richardson was named second team all-conference after leading the squad with 313 kills, a .315 hitting percentage and 18 solo blocks. Walroth was also named to the all-freshman team after setting a new program record for digs in a season (571), shattering the previous mark of 465 by Terri Hallenbeck in 1987.
The Dolphins ended the year ranked first in the A-Sun with 312.5 blocks and an average of 2.60 blocks per game.
Kupferberg came to JU with impressive credentials. He had taken a program that had struggled for years at Northwest, turning them into a regional powerhouse - capped by an impressive 28-4 record during his final season.
His five-year record at Northwest was 91-52, with only one losing season (his first) during that time frame. During his tenure, he led Northwest to its highest national ranking ever (10th) and to its first-ever regional championship match.
In looking at his record at Northwest, his teams improved each season, going from 12 wins his first year to 28 his final season.
The 2004 campaign was a breakthrough year at Northwest, going 22-8 and 15-3 in the Cascade Conference to earn "Coach of the Year" honors.
Since coming to JU, Kupferberg's has installed a system that keeps JU among the contenders in the A-Sun, while eventually turning the program into a regional power.
But Kupferberg's system doesn't end on the court, it also extends to the classroom. Under his guidance, every student-athlete who enters the program has graduated or is on track to graduate.
He got his start in coaching as a student at Miami University, working with the men's and women's club programs.
The Chicago native and his wife, Erin, have two children: Payton & Kyle and currently reside in Jacksonville.