Stu Upson Out as USBC Executive Director

by Bob Johnson 0

The two men hired to oversee main operations at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas — Steve Johnson with the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and Stu Upson with the United States Bowling Congress — now are both gone.

Johnson suddenly resigned from his post as BPAA executive director last Oct. 13. And today, Upson handed in his resignation as USBC executive director.

Here is the text of a media release just issued by USBC:

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United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Executive Director Stu Upson has resigned his position with the organization effective immediately.

“On behalf of USBC, I want to thank Stu for all he has done for the organization and our sport,” USBC President Andrew Cain said. “Under Stu’s leadership we have been able to accomplish a number of important goals in furthering our strategic plan. As we enter the next phase of our program, we will be looking to new leadership to further enhance bowling and serve the millions of Americans who enjoy our sport.”

USBC plans to announce an Interim Executive Director in the coming days and will conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.

“I have enjoyed working with the USBC Board, executive team and our members to help advance the sport we all love,” Upson said. “While there is still more work to do, I am confident that I am leaving the USBC in a stronger and better position. I am grateful for the support and friendships I have gained during my tenure and know that great things are ahead for both the leadership and members of USBC.”

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While the building of the International Bowling Campus — uniting BPAA and USBC under one roof and creating some staffing efficiencies — was envisioned as an essential step in moving the industry forward, bowling’s “numbers” have continued to decline. USBC membership continues to slip, and following Johnson’s departure, BPAA leadership tasked staffer Bart Burger to focus on bringing more centers into BPAA membership.

According to his biography on Bowl.com, Upson was hired as the USBC’s executive director in July 2009. Prior to joining USBC, he served as senior vice president for Skip Barber Racing, an automotive education and entertainment company. Prior to that, he was senior vice president for Venue3D, a joint venture between the William Morris Agency and Mills Corp. Upson also spent four years as senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing for First USA Bank (now Chase), where he established the bank’s sports affinity credit card program. Earlier in his career, Upson served as vice president of business development for Major League Baseball Properties, and spent 10 years in the advertising industry in New York City. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.

Late last October, USBC also parted ways with Managing Director of Membership and Events Pete Tredwell, a move Tredwell described on his Facebook page as “acknowledged by all to be neither voluntary nor performance based.”

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.