Oklahoma Christian welcomes bowling to varsity athletics

James Hayes joins the Eagles as the head coach of the men's and women's bowling programs. Headshot by Elise Miller. Online graphics.

James Hayes joins the Eagles as the head coach of the men's and women's bowling programs. Headshot by Elise Miller. Online graphics.

Oklahoma Christian University will become the third university in the state to offer collegiate bowling, with the addition of men’s and women’s bowling teams to the athletic department for 2018-2019.

“We are definitely looking to add programs that are beneficial to the university and will be beneficial for our students,” Athletic Director David Lynn said. “Certainly, we want to expand the opportunities on campus for additional programs if they are going to meet the needs of students, like bowling. As we evaluate and analyze not only our school but our athletic program, we want to add programs so that we can attract new students. We want to add things that we think we can be competitive and successful at.”

The Eagles’ bowling teams will compete within the United States Bowling Congress against other club programs on a regional and national level. Although they will be competing on a club level, Oklahoma Christian will honor bowling as a varsity sport and offer scholarships to athletes.

James Hayes, bowling coach at the University Central Oklahoma, will join the Eagles’ staff as head bowling coach. Hayes will finish coaching this club season with the Bronchos, but he will begin recruiting for Oklahoma Christian immediately.

“I really wanted to be part of a University that would treat bowling as a varsity sport, somewhere we would have incentives for the bowlers coming in and somewhere we can actually build a big varsity sport on both the men’s and women’s sides,” Hayes said.

As the recruiting process begins, Hayes and Lynn anticipate to recruit a full men’s and women’s team, which will be eight members on each side, for the inaugural season.

“We hope to bring in a strong program that not only makes it to sectionals but on to the national tournament and make this a nationally known university that bowlers will seek out,” Hayes said. “I have been talking to numerous students from across the U.S. and actually a couple in Canada.”

The bowling teams will utilize AMF Bowling Lanes in Edmond, OK as their practice facility and home location.

“Bowling is unique and attractive to the university and myself, because I think we can bring students in immediately to do this,” Lynn said. “We’re going to provide equipment and they’re going to travel and compete athletically, but we don’t have to spend $200,000 on a facility. We’ll just rent the bowling lanes over across the street.”

 

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