Women's team will compete as an NCAA-sanctioned team, while men's team will compete as a club sport.
Walsh University is adding men’s and women’s bowling for the 2018-19 season, the school announced Wednesday.
Walsh will now offer 21 recognized athletic teams with men’s bowling serving as a club sport. Currently, the NCAA only sanctions women’s bowling for championships.
The Cavaliers will play their home matches at Park Centre Lanes in North Canton. The venue boasts 36 lanes and also hosts Hoover, GlenOak, Jackson, and Lake high school teams. Bowling is a winter sport.
Walsh Vice President/Director of Athletics Dale Howard has appointed James (JC) Heighway as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. A 2010 Walsh alum, Heighway returns after previously serving as the head coach at Hoover. Including Heighway, the Cavaliers will have six alumni serving as Cavalier head coaches.
“In JC Heighway, we have hired a head coach who exudes passion on all the right fronts. Passion for Walsh, passion for the sport of bowling, and most importantly, passion for developing student athletes in mind, body and spirit,” Howard said in a statement. “I am thrilled to welcome JC back to his alma mater to start men’s and women’s bowling and to build on his successes as head coach of one of the best high school programs in the state.”
The NCAA Bowling Championship is a sanctioned women's championship in college athletics. Unlike many NCAA sports, only one championship is held each season with teams from Division I, Division II, and Division III competing together. Eight teams, all at-large selections, are chosen by the NCAA Bowling Committee to compete in the championships. The championship was first held in April 2004.
Currently the only other Division II NCAA team in Ohio is fellow Great Midwest Athletic Conference member Ursuline. No Division III schools currently have teams that compete in the NCAA, and Youngstown State is the only Division I school in state. Kentucky Wesleyan is set to add bowling, increasing the sport's presence in the G-MAC.