‘100 Top Coaches’: The End

by Bob Johnson 0

In 2005, Bowlers Journal International introduced the “Top 100 Coaches” program as a way of recognizing some of the men and women who make important, often under-appreciated, contributions to our sport. An expert panel was assembled to verify and assess the application forms, in an attempt to separate the 100 “best” from all the rest.

What we learned that year is that putting together such a “ranking” is impossible because so many coaches make contributions in so many different ways. So, for the 2006 program, we made a subtle name change: “100 Top Coaches,” indicating that this was a SAMPLING of the game’s best coaches, not a definitive list of THE 100 best.

In succeeding years, we did our best to ensure deserving coaches were recognized; some made the list every year, others did not. Most who did not simply kept on doing what they loved — teaching bowling — and sent in an updated application the following year. A few complained with scorching letters. In more recent years, with the proliferation of social media, some made their complaints very public, and those complaints were followed by numerous comments criticizing Bowlers Journal for leaving that coach off the “100” list.

This year, that criticism intensified, to the point that one poster suggested BJI editors were bribed to include certain coaches on the list. For the record, in nearly every case in which a well-known coach was left off the “100” list, that coach failed to submit an application — the ONLY requirement of the initiative. The application form serves several purposes, and is necessary to maintain the integrity of the initiative.

Because Bowlers Journal has now been put in the position of “defending itself” against unfair criticism over a program that it introduced to bring positive attention to an important segment of the sport, we are saddened to announce that this year’s “100 Top Coaches” initiative will be the last. In the future, we will instead devote those pages to additional instruction-oriented features.

We will continue to archive the “100 Top Coaches” honorees from 2005 through 2016 on our website. The 2016 list will be uploaded soon. You can access those archives here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/instruction/top-100-coaches/.

We wish to thank all great coaches for their contribution to the sport, and we look forward to incorporating their voices and their wisdom into the instructional offerings that will replace 100 Top Coaches in the years ahead.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.