Athletic Director Tom Visker is pleased to announce that Bethel College will offer men's and women's bowling as varsity programs for the 2018-19 academic year. The addition of bowling will bring Bethel to a total of 21 varsity programs competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and 27 intercollegiate teams total. The Pilots most recently added competitive cheer during the 2016-17 academic year.
"We think men's and women's bowling will be a good addition to our athletic department," stated Visker. "It is one of the fastest-growing high school and collegiate sports in our region and across the nation. Since four other conference schools already have bowling programs, we hope that men's and women's bowling will become official Crossroads League sports in the near future."
Bowling is currently an invitational sport within the NAIA after just completing the first Invitational Status Year in 2017-18. As of July 1, 2017, there were 53 women's programs and 51 men's programs competing in the NAIA. Bethel will join Huntington, Marian, Mt. Vernon Nazarene, and Spring Arbor as Crossroads League schools to sponsor the sport.
The Pilots will make their home venue the Strikes & Spares Entertainment Center in Mishawaka and will begin recruiting and filling the roster immediately before officially competing in 2019-20. Student-athletes interested in competing in men's and women's bowling at Bethel can complete and submit a prospective student-athlete questionnaire.
Additionally, Visker has tabbed Chris Adams as the first head coach in men's and women's bowling program history at Bethel.
Adams comes to the Pilots after 28 years at NOW Courier, Inc. in South Bend as a Regional District Manager. The central Arkansas native has the better part of three decades of experience in the sport, including leading the University of Notre Dame bowling program from 2016-18, and is a member of the St. Joe Valley USBC Hall of Fame for Superior Performance.
"It would hard to find a head bowling coach who is more qualified than Chris to lead our new program," commented Visker. "His credentials are impressive. Chris has great local, regional, and national bowling connections that will enhance his ability to recruit student-athletes to Bethel.
Read the full release at BethelCollegePilots.com.