After almost a two-decade layoff from competitive bowling, Rhea County High School Eagle bowling coach Steve Williams proved he’s still got game by finishing 18th out of 70 participants at a Professional Bowlers’ Association [PBA] Tour event in Marion, N.C., from May 16-18.
Williams missed making the finals by only six pins at the May tournament, but he picked up his first PBA check since the early 1990s.
Early on, Williams realized the sacrifice a professional bowling career would entail, and decided to put his family first.
“I love the sport of bowling and have always had a dream of competing on the PBA tour,” said Williams. “When I was in my 20s I had the opportunity to compete in a couple of regional tournaments in Chattanooga when Tri-State Lanes was in East Ridge.
“I got the opportunity to compete with Guppy Troup, Sam Zurich and Gary Hancock,” added Williams in reference to some of the game’s best talent. “But when my first child was born I realized that my dream of becoming a pro bowler was probably not going to happen because of the cost of the sport and how expensive it was to compete on the national level.
“Realizing that, I decided to give up the sport and focus on my family,” he added. “Last year in January, I was approached about the possibility of starting a team at Rhea County High School, which was after my son started bowling in a youth league. I did not realize it would lead to me being able to do some of the things I have been able to accomplish.”
Williams bowled a regional PBA event in Tavares, Fla., in February and finished 65th out of 105 bowlers, missing the cut by 124 pins.
“I really feel privileged, to be able to be a part of the sport that I have loved so long and perhaps have an impact in the lives of many kids along the way,” said Williams of the Eagle bowlers.
To view more results from PBA events visit www.pba.com.
Williams as teacher, coach and mentor
Williams has a bowling camp planned for this summer, along with on-going team practices. The three-day camp will be held at Crystal Lanes Bowling Center on Monday, June 9; Wednesday, June 11; and Friday, June 13, from 3-6 p.m., and will feature one of the state’s top coaches from Columbia Central High School, Mike Ransom.
Ransom is not only the General Manager of Ebonite’s Galaxy Lanes in Columbia, but has coached the Columbia Lions’ bowling team to many titles, including a few state titles and runner-ups.
The camp is not limited to members of the RCHS bowling team, but will be open to the first 50 people of any age who are interested on a first come, first serve basis. The cost is $60 per bowler/camper, which includes video-taping, instruction and feedback from Ransom. If interested in the camp, contact Williams at 276-494-2779 or call Debbie at Crystal Lanes Bowling Center at 423-775-1547.
A year ago, Williams brought in two seasoned experts, who have competed professionally on the Professional Bowlers’ Association [PBA] tour for a one-day mini-camp for the newly formed Eagle team. This summer, he stressed the importance of building a solid program by surrounding the team with the best instructors possible.
“I am really looking forward to getting started back with the kids this summer,” Williams said. “Last year, we held a camp with David McGowan and Aaron White, and this year we are bringing in Mike Ransom from Columbia Central High School.
“I am trying to give the kids some of the best coaching and instruction the game has to offer,” added Williams. “With the experience these guys have had over the years, they have helped and will help impact the success of our program for years to come.”
The Eagle squads will kick off the 2014-15 season in the fall.