By: Bette Addington, California Bowling Writers
Clovis, CA—There’s a lot to be said for all the accomplishments that Chris Preble has racked up over his bowling career so far, but he recently was notified about a new one—CUSBC Coach of the Year, 2018! Preble will be presented with this honor at the CUSBC 2018 State Convention, which will be taking place the weekend of June 9-10, at Hotel Picadilly in Fresno. Preble was notified by CUSBC President Rosie Parker and said, “It was quite unexpected.”
To give you more of an insight in the making of this great coach of the Fresno State Bulldogs Bowling Men & Women’s Teams, here is how it all began. Chris was born in Fresno, 51 years ago and lived in Fresno most of his childhood and then later moved “all the way” to Clovis. His bowling career started when he was 11 years old when a friend from school invited him to join a league. This friend must have had a lot of influence as Chris did not come from a bowling family and luckily he lived close enough to Sunnyside Bowl that he could ride his bike to go bowling. He was soon taken under the guidance of Robbie Tanaka, who was his first coach. Preble already was hooked on the game and intrigued about the movement of the ball on the lane and said, “Understanding how to make a bowling ball hook was the first thing I loved about the game.” Preble then went on to be coached by the late, great, Glenn Carlson when he was a collegiate bowler at Fresno State. Preble added, “I wouldn’t be where I am today, or who I am today, without either of their influences” (Tanaka and Carlson). Glenn Carlson was the one who approached Chris to assist with the Men’s program at Fresno State in 2002.
Before we learn more about his coaching career at Fresno State, here’s some info on Chris the bowler and his own career. He’s had (51) career 300 games and (27) 800 series to date along with (2) PBA Regional titles and was the 1993 PBA Western Region Rookie of the Year. He currently competes in scratch events up and down our State and is about to go bowl the USBC Open Nationals in Syracuse, NY. Besides that, he is open to help out his association, Central California USBC, as a volunteer coach and helped them establish a Learn-to-Bowl program along with a Youth Camp last year that was a huge success. He gives private lessons as well and I know for a fact he is more than happy to pair up with an up-and-coming youth to bowl an Adult-Jr. event like the annual Tony Reyes Memorial!
Preble recently completed his 15th year coaching the Fresno State Bulldog Team (2018 marks his 9th year as Head Coach). This year he had eleven players in the program. He has two assistant coaches—Craig Donaldson & Kiana Rowe. In addition, Kevin Kwok continues to provide assistance with fundraising for their program (Erick Buckley and Chad Uyehara have also provided invaluable assistance in past seasons). Preble added, “It definitely takes a village to build a collegiate bowling program.” Fresno State is one the oldest state university to have a bowling team (Coach Carlson established the program in the 1969-70 season). The bowling program is also the oldest club on the Fresno campus as well.
The Fresno Bulldogs had eleven players (mixed team) in the program this season. In the past, they have had as many as 20 players on the team. Their season starts up in August, and depending how the season goes, completes in March, or hopefully in April at the national championships! They typically have four practices a week. Three are 1-1/2 hours and one is for 2 hours. This year’s mixed team had an average range of 166 to 201. When asked what his favorite part of coaching is, he said, “When players come to our program, typically their experience in the game is fairly limited. One thing I really enjoy is watching players overcome their perceived limitations. Whether it’s by playing an area of the lane they never would have considered or, overcoming the pressure of an important moment in a match. Seeing the growth and maturation is pretty cool.” Team players are allowed four years of competition and typically his players use all of their available eligibility. Preble was happy to report that “Nationally, collegiate bowling is growing!” 172 schools fielded Men’s teams during this 2017-18 season and 142 schools fielded Women’s teams.
Preble has had great success getting the Fresno State Bulldog Bowling Team recognized as he coached them to the 2011 Intercollegiate Team Championship Title. In 2015, they received the Club Championship (named after Glenn Carlson). Preble, himself, has been recognized as Collegiate Coach of the Year (2006-07) and made the Top 100 Coaches in the US list by Bowlers Journal International in both 2013 and 2015.
Chris is married to wife, Dana, and they have two daughters, Audree (20) and Averee (16). Both of his daughters are involved with swimming so any free time he might have would be seeing them at their swimming events.
The Fresno Bulldog Bowling Team is getting set to host their 3rd annual Golf Tournament fundraiser and they also plan on having a Tri-Tip Dinner fundraiser. Dates should be out soon so watch for these events as they are popular and a great way to support this team.
For youth bowlers out there wondering if they might qualify to be a part of the Fresno Bulldogs Bowling Team in the near future, Chris said, “If you’re in high school and have a passion for our game, please reach out to a college that provides a collegiate bowling experience. I believe collegiate bowling is the healthiest level of bowling available. Being part of a team in a mostly individually based sport is very rewarding. If you have any questions about our program, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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