ARLINGTON, Texas - Arthur O'Connor of West Hempstead, New York, has been named the 2021 David Dahms Coach of the Year by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee.
The annual award is determined by the IBC Youth Committee based on submitted applications.
The David Dahms Coach of the Year Award recognizes a coach that is trained through the USBC Coaching program who has been actively involved in a USBC Youth program and has demonstrated outstanding commitment to coaching, sportsmanship and knowledge of USBC Youth rules. It is named in honor of Dahms, who was an instrumental leader in the creation of what is now known as the USBC Junior Gold program.
"I'm stunned," said O'Connor, a Silver coach. "This recognition shows that what we're doing here is really working. I'm ecstatic at this because it presents more opportunities for me to help the sport of bowling."
O'Connor bowled through his teenage years but had gotten away from the sport to work in the food and beverage industry, which included owning a restaurant. He picked up the sport again at 40, and after moving back to New York in the late 2000s, found a home at Jib Lanes in Fresh Meadows, where he worked as the food and beverage director.
He soon was tasked with running the youth program at Jib Lanes and started with six youth bowlers in 2011. O'Connor quickly transformed the program, helping it grow to approximately 120 youth bowlers as of last season.
O'Connor has developed a culture that encourages his experienced students to help new bowlers with the basics and improve, and he is focused on helping showcase the scholarship opportunities available to youth bowlers who are looking at colleges.
He also has his own coaching channel on YouTube, Art of Bowling, which has more than 20,000 subscribers and several videos eclipsing more than 100,000 views.
O'Connor noted the 2018 World Bowling Coach Conference at the International Training and Research Center as being one of the watershed moments in his coaching career, which encouraged him to look at coaching on a full-time basis.
"Those were three of the most amazing days in my life," said O'Connor, who also is an administrative assistant for the New York City USBC. "I was like a kid in a candy store. The knowledge I gained from that was phenomenal, and being able to listen to Susie Minshew talk about taking the dive into coaching full-time was big for me. I was wanting to get out of the food and beverage industry, and her speech encouraged me to try coaching full-time. I'm very grateful to the LaSpina family (at Jib Lanes) for giving me the opportunity to do this."
O'Connor will be recognized in April for his efforts during the virtual 2021 USBC Convention.
This year's award ceremony, which includes a variety of awards for youth and adult bowlers, will take place virtually April 28 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Eastern.
A similar presentation will be held at the same time April 27 for award winners from 2020. The 2020 Convention was canceled due to COVID-19.
Learn more about awards for adult youth leaders and scholarship opportunities for youth bowlers at BOWL.com/ScholarshipsAwards.