Doug Koster (President)
Founder of the Mr. Basketball &
Miss Basketball Tournaments
Doug Koster hosted the first Mr. Basketball Invitational in 1992 with a field of 12 teams from five states. The lone Mr. Basketball tournament in 1992, quickly grew into a full-time basketball promotion business, Mr. Basketball, Inc. Entering it’s 28th year of operation, Mr. Basketball, Inc., has hosted more than 300 tournaments.
Since 1992, boys and girls teams from 37 states and three Canadian provinces have ventured to Kearney, Nebraska, for the tournaments.
Alumni of the Mr. Basketball & Miss Basketball tournaments have gone on to play in the NBA, WNBA, NFL and for many of the nation’s top men’s & women’s NCAA programs.
In 2019, his events will include nearly 1,100 teams from 20 states & college coaches from across the country will attend the college exposure events.
Mr. Basketball Inc. was named the 2008 Small Business of the Year at the 90th Annual Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce banquet on March 2, 2009. The annual award honors recipients for their impact on economic growth in the Kearney Area, creativity, community involvement and leadership. (Photo Below) Doug Koster with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman at the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Although the majority of the events are held in Kearney, Koster also hosts the Dakota Showcase college exposure tournament in Sioux Falls along with a handful of youth tournaments in other communities in Central Nebraska.
In 1992, Doug was certainly the nation’s youngest major tournament director at just 19 years of age, and a college freshman. From the beginning, coaches have praised the events as the best organized anywhere.
Doug Koster graduated from Kearney High School in 1991 and the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1995. He was the first to enroll in UNK’s Sport Administration program.
In 1994, he served an internship with the Indiana Pacers front office in media and community relations for five months as part of his Sport Administration degree. Koster also served as an administrative assistant during the Southern California Pro Basketball Summer League for NBA players.
During his prep career, Koster led the Kearney High Bearcats to the state tournament quarterfinals in 1990, and the state semi-finals in 1991. As a senior, he averaged 23.05 points and 12 boards while leading the Cats to a 15-5 record. He set several KHS scoring and rebounding records and was a two-time first team Class A (big school) all-state selection.
He was a member of the 1990 Valentino’s Nebraska All-Star Team that advanced to the Final 8 of the Nike Las Vegas Invitational, before being ousted by a Dallas team led by future NBA players Greg Ostertag, Mario Bennett and Jimmy King. Doug’s Valentino’s teammate Erick Strickland played in the NBA for a number of years with Dallas, Milwaukee and Boston.
Koster served as the freshman boys assistant for one year before serving as the sophomore head coach for two seasons at Kearney High.
Shortly after starting the Mr. Basketball events, Koster helped form the Kearney Basketball Club, Inc., to offer a five-month program for Kearney’s 3rd-8th graders. Koster serves as Executive Director for the program which has about 300 participants. His responsibilities include scheduling of facilities, practices, games, officials, in addition to marketing and registration for the program.
A 2004 article in the Kearney Hub focused on the $5 million economic impact of the Mr. Basketball, Inc., events on the local economy.
United States Congressman Tom Osborne highlighted Doug’s entrepreneurship efforts in his Entrepreneur Handbook publication in 2004.
In February 2009, Doug Koster was presented the 2008 Marketer of the Year award by the University of Nebraska at Kearney chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Koster is a member of the Kearney Bearcat Booster Club. Professional services donated by Mr. Basketball, Inc., have helped raise more than $265,000 for the Booster Club since the mid-1990’s.
Doug, 46, and his wife, Beth, have two children. Keona is a 2018 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a marketing degree and is now a Project Coordinator at the Arbor Day Foundation. Kanon is a 2018 graduate of Kearney High. Kanon was the Omaha World Herald’s Nebraska High School Male Athlete of the Year in 2018. He was twice named 1st Team All Nebraska by the Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star in basketball, and was 1st Team All Nebraska in football as QB of the Bearcats’ state runner-up team. Kanon, who had DI basketball offers from McNeese St., Furman and Maine, now plays for the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Beth is an Accounting Assistant at Contryman Associates, P.C.