Bowling is an ever-growing national sport and the University of Saint Mary is one of the most recent KCAC schools to add it to their Athletic Department in 2021. Bowling is starting to emerge at the collegiate level and USM will add both men’s and women’s bowling teams in the hopes of success both on and off the lanes. It gives the chance for the school to expand, gain financially, and also develop more students in the Saint Mary way.
Saint Mary’s Vice President of Athletics, Rob Miller had this to say, “We are always looking to expand sports… then we look at what’s going to have the biggest bang for its buck, or biggest impact as quickly as we can make it. Bowling is an emerging sport and turned into a championship level sport at the NAIA level.”
Bowling gives Saint Mary a chance to bring in more student athletes from all over the nation and to compete at a highly competitive level. Schools like Ottawa University and Avila have just recently added bowling to their schools and have seen success early as both programs are receiving votes in the most recent NAIA bowling polls.
The next priority for USM to build its bowling program is to hire a coach and hit the recruiting trail hard. Coach Miller discussed the coaching search. He stated that the school is currently in the middle of accepting applications and reviewing each one in a way to get the coach hired as quickly and most effectively as possible. The right person for the job is going to have to recruit and recruit well as Coach Miller’s Vision is to “have a team of 15 men and 15 women in the next 3 years.”
While the coach and recruiting are the next thing on the bowling agenda, USM has already passed a few obstacles by setting up practice and facility locations. Since USM does not have its own bowling center, the program had to go off campus to find a sight to compete and practice. That facility has already been set with Crown Lanes Bowling Center in Leavenworth. That is a big step as the program moves forward.
Only time will tell on how successful the program will actually be, but what we do know is the athletic department is all in on trying to make bowling a key sport within the school as a sport that can increase revenue and add students to campus.
Bryan Gudka is a Sports management major with an emphasis in Digital Communications at the University of Saint Mary. Joining JCOM in 2018, Bryan is also involved with the football program at USM.