Former Team USA Head Coach Jeri Edwards (pictured) was inducted into the Bowling Coaches Hall of Fame during International Bowl Expo in a ceremony Monday, June 24, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.
Edwards is the sixth inductee and the first woman to join the elite new Hall of Fame, which began in 2008. She joins coaches Dick Ritger, Fred Borden, Tom Kouros, John Jowdy, and Gordon Vadakin in the Hall, along with 20 Trailblazers representing coaching’s early era.
Edwards served as Team USA Head Coach from 2004-2009. She is currently the Head Coach of Team Puerto Rico, a position she has held since 2010. Edwards served as Junior Team USA Head Coach in 2002-03, and as Assistant Team USA Coach from 1991-1996 and 2000-2003. Edwards was caught off guard when notified of her election. “What a huge surprise! I am taken aback; to be mentioned in this group is really something. This is such an honor,” she said. Surprised she may have been, but her credentials say that she has earned a place among bowling’s greatest coaches.
While still a college student, she started her coaching career as an instructor for the Professional Bowling Camps in 1981, working closely for a decade with bowling greats Don Johnson and Sam Baca.
Today, she is a partner with fellow Hall of Fame member and mentor Fred Borden in the prestigious Borden & Edwards School of Bowling in Akron, Ohio.
Edwards has had an amazing career in bowling as a top pro bowler, coach, video producer, tournament director, and co-author of three books including the 360-page Handbook of Bowling Psychology she wrote with Borden and Dr. Eric Lasser in 2006.
As the Editor of Bowling Digest Magazine from 1993-2000, she wrote dozens of instructional articles, and was a feature writer for U.S. Bowler Magazine before that.
A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Marketing, Edwards has used those skills to promote bowling across the globe for decades. She also used them in the bowling business while on the management team of Borden’s Stonehedge Bowling Center in her home town of Akron, Ohio She served as President of the Akron Bowling Proprietors Association from 1998-2001.
Part of Edwards’ success as a coach can also be attributed to her prowess on the lanes as a top bowler. She won the Illinois State Championship in high school before becoming a collegiate champion at Penn State, where she was awarded the prestigious Billy Welu Scholarship in 1983.
As an amateur, she won Akron, Chicago, Ohio and Illinois Women’s International Bowling Congress championships, and was a member of the 1988 WIBC National Championship Team.
As a touring player on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association tour, she was a consistent finalist, and won the 1990 PWBA Greater Atlanta Open before leaving the tour to pursue her coaching career and other interests.
Her experience as a Tournament Director includes stints a co-director of three American Bowling Congress Senior Masters Tournaments in 1996-98. She used that experience to serve as Co-Tournament Director of three Professional Bowlers Association events – the PBA Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship from 1998-2000.
Over the years, Edwards has earned respect from all corners of the industry for her knowledge and experience. Another example is that she has the distinction of being the only woman ever to serve as a member of the American Bowling Congress National Board of Directors. She served for three years from 2002-2004.
Edwards’ family has been the foundation for it all. Her Father John was a very good bowler who coached the youth leagues Jeri and her siblings grew up in. Her Mom Marj loved the competition, yet taught the kids balance in all things, according to Jeri.
Jeri’s brother Ray has been a bowling ball Design Engineer for Brunswick for many years. Her sister Kathy Zielke was a Rookie of the Year for PWBA in 1993, and sister Brenda Padilla was a 2-time National Collegiate Champion at the University of Nebraska, a multi-year member of Team USA, and USBC National Champion.
“I have to thank all of them,” said Edwards. “Without my family, none of what I have done would be possible; and certainly Fred Borden has been my mentor and dear friend. And the love of my life Denny Schreiner is always there for me. He has great respect for the sport and athletes’ talent and dedication. Bowling was lucky to have him call competitions as a broadcaster for so many years.”
In addition to selecting one outstanding active coach each year, the Coaches Hall of Fame adds early pioneers who laid the foundation for modern coaches. Joining the list of Trailblazers in the Hall this year are coaches Billy Sixty and Sid Greenberg.
Sixty was a coach and promoter who excelled as an athlete and a writer, covering golf and bowling for the Milwaukee Journal while coaching both sports. He later became a columnist for Bowlers Journal. Sixty was active from the 1930’s until his death in 1983.
Greenberg was a prolific coach who pioneered bowling instruction on television. His first broadcast was in 1947, and he continued to reach the mass audience television provided through the 1950’s.
Previous Trailblazers honored are Lou Ballissimo, Buddy Bomar, Bill Bunetta, Frank Clause, Ned Day, Chief Halftown, Floretta McCutcheon, Andy Varipapa, Doc Hattstrom, Helen Duval, Don Johnson, Paul Krumske, Bill Taylor, Joe Kristof, Jeanette Robinson, Marion Ladewig, Joe Wilman and LaVerne Carter.
As posted on digitalbowling.com