BY MARK MILLER
In the nearly 13 years since “retiring” from the United States Bowling Congress, Roger Dalkin has gone from arguably the most powerful person in the sport to someone many people in his home state of Wisconsin don’t know at all.
Never was that more evident than when a high-school coach asked him a couple of years ago if he knew how to run tournaments.
“I’m looking at him and said, ‘Let me see. I ran five national collegiates, also the largest annual tournament, I ran the Olympic competition in 1988 in Seoul, I ran the World Championships in 1995. So I think I can handle a high-school tournament,’” he said. “The guy looked at me like I was an [expletive]. I probably came across a little gruff. But he asked me if I knew how to run a tournament and I said, ‘Yeah, I know how to run a tournament.’”
Nobody should question his credentials anymore, especially since he joined the Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin as the program manager for high schools and middle schools. While he has stayed close to the sport as a volunteer, this is Dalkin’s first paid gig since his days as USBC’s Chief Executive Officer.
The USBC Hall of Famer was hired by BCAW Executive Director Yvonne Bennett for a position she held on an interim basis last year.
“It’s nice to have someone with his background, his history, his reputation with us,” Bennett said. “There are some who know who Roger Dalkin is, but we have 224 members and I bet there are less than 20 of them who know him from his ABC or USBC days.
“He’s got what I call a professional maturity without comparison to anybody in the industry, in my opinion. I don’t think there’s anyone in the industry who can bring to the table what Roger Dalkin has.”
The 69-year-old Dalkin was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2008, just one year after his retirement was announced. The longtime American Bowling Congress Executive Director played a key role in the merger of ABC with the Young American Bowling Alliance, Women’s International Bowling Congress and USA Bowling to form USBC in 2005. He also served as USBC’s first Chief Executive Officer for nearly three years.
After bowling in high school in his native New York and later Miami, it’s ironic that Dalkin is spending the tail end of his bowling career running a state prep program where he’s happy many people in his state don’t know him.
“The anonymity is fine because there’s no baggage with it,” he said. “You stand on your own merits and it works out well.”
Dalkin started his new position right after Labor Day. He presides over a program that, in the 2018-2019 season, had 317 boys, girls, and junior varsity teams and an estimated 2,200 students participating in 13 districts in the high-school program and another 136 middle school teams with about 950 students in nine districts. Wisconsin’s season runs from November until the state tournament the first weekend in March.
He has remained close to the sport with the Greater Milwaukee USBC association, as a coach at Greendale High School, Executive Director/Coordinator for the Milwaukee-Waukesha high-school district, Tournament Coordinator and State Volunteer Coordinator and Score Monitor.
Since leaving USBC, Dalkin has worked as a financial advisor for Mutual of Omaha. But his passion for bowling never left.
“This isn’t about what I’ve done in the past,” he said. “[Bennett] needed some administrative help. I know how to deal with people who are complaining. It’s just kind of fun keeping your hand in it and moving it forward.
“It’s fun and only a few hours a day. I enjoy doing it and it’s helping out a friend. It’s definitely a labor of love.”