ARLINGTON, Texas – Connie Emlich has been named the David Dahms Coach of the Year, and Lenny Higgins has been selected as the United States Bowling Congress Youth Volunteer of the Year by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee.
Both award winners are from Columbus, Ohio, and volunteer in youth leagues at Sequoia Pro Bowl. Each was selected based on submitted applications.
The David Dahms Coach of the Year Award is presented to a coach who has been actively involved in a USBC Youth program and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to coaching, sportsmanship and knowledge of USBC Youth rules.
“It is a great honor to receive this award,” Emlich said. “I have been coaching for 35 years. I have coached many kids during that time, and now I am coaching their kids. I have always coached the 6-to-8-years-old group because I get the most enjoyment from seeing their faces light up when they get their first spare and strike.”
She has coached in the Saturday morning youth league at Sequoia Pro Bowl for 33 years. When her daughter turned 6 and started bowling at Sequoia Pro Bowl, Emlich decided she also wanted to be part of the program after seeing how much her daughter enjoyed the sport.
“So now, 35 years later, I am still coaching and still enjoying it,” Emlich said. “I am now coaching my own grandchildren.”
Emlich’s past students include Zeke Bayt, the 2013 Regular Singles champion at the USBC Open Championships, and Dan Higgins and Josh Conner, who were part of the 2016 Team All-Events champion at the 2016 Open Championships.
Emlich organizes teams for youth tournaments and helps with the year-end banquet, which includes getting together the more than 100 prizes for the youth bowlers, and she collects money during Youth Bowler Week, a fundraiser for the Central Ohio USBC Youth program.
She also is involved with high school bowling, having coached the DeSales High School team for the last 10 years.
Emlich is a multiple award winner in Ohio, having been named Coach of the Year by Central Ohio USBC (2015) and the Ohio State USBC Youth Association (2016).
Higgins was named the USBC Youth Volunteer of the Year, which recognizes an adult volunteer who has displayed outstanding efforts to foster, organize and promote certified youth bowling programs at the local, state and/or national level.
“First, it is an honor to be nominated for this award by my peers,” Higgins said. “It means that I must be making the right choices for the youth bowlers at our center and all around in the Central Ohio USBC Youth Advisory Council. Winning the award is a privilege, that the IBC Youth Committee selected me and recognized the years I have been bowling, being a certified coach and assistant director of our youth program, and all that I have contributed for our youth bowlers for them to enjoy the sport and keep coming back for every new season.”
Higgins has coached at Sequoia Pro Bowl for the last 22 years and has served as the assistant youth coordinator at the center for the last 12 years. He serves on the Central Ohio USBC Youth Advisory Council and is a member of the association’s youth committee.
He developed the “On the Spot” awards for the youth leagues to provide immediate recognition for achievements on the lanes and the program soon was adopted by other area centers. He helped form teams from the Sequoia Pro Bowl leagues for the city youth championships and the center’s teams claimed first in Bumper Boys, Bantam Boys, Bantam Girls and Prep Boys.
Four years ago, a local middle school sought to start an after-school bowling club and Higgins volunteered to assist getting the program underway. What started with 30 students has grown to encompass three middle schools and 80 students.
Higgins, too, is a multiple award winner in Ohio. He was named the Central Ohio USBC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2013, and was selected by the Ohio State USBC Youth Association as Volunteer of the Year in 2017.
Higgins and Emlich will be presented with their awards during the 2019 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting, set for April 29 through May 2 at The Orleans in Las Vegas. BowlTV.com will have live coverage of the awards presentations.
Visit BOWL.com/ScholarshipsAwards to learn more about awards for adult youth leaders and scholarship opportunities for youth bowlers.