George Gohagan

BOWLING: Hall of Fame a ‘special’ honor for Gohagan

It’s an honor that is frequently a career capstone, but George Gohagan III is just getting started.

The 36-year-old will be inducted into The National Bowling Association (TNBA) Central Region Hall of Fame in Louisville in November. He will be recognized for superior performance.

“I never really expected it, I don’t think I’ve done enough,” Gohagan said. “There’s still so much more that I can do.”

Originally known as the National Negro Bowling Association, the organization was founded in 1939 in Detroit “for the express purpose of encouraging Blacks to develop their skills in the game of Ten Pins.” TNBA membership is open to all bowlers regardless of gender or race.

“It means a lot because this organization is special to me,” Gohagan said. “Blacks couldn’t bowl with whites back in the day, this is where my dad bowled tournaments, so it’s definitely special.”

While just 36 years old, Gohagan has compiled an impressive bowling resume. It doesn’t hurt that he started bowling when he was 3.

The Dayton bowler posted his first Junior Tournament Bowlers Association win two decades ago, in 1999, and never looked back. In the 20 years that followed, he earned numerous local, state and national tournament titles, including winning two United States Bowling Congress Eagles in 2006 and 2007. Gohagan was the TNBA national singles champion in 2008 – rolling 10 800 series, four 300 games and a pair of 299’s en route to the title. And he picked up a PBA title in 2012 at a Super Regional event in Las Vegas.

“I remember calling my dad after winning, I was shaking,” he said. “I told him I finally did it.”

The numbers speak volumes as Gohagan has rolled more than 200 perfect games and 170 800 series. He posted a career-high 253 average last season and has maintained averages of 243, 244 and 246 in recent years.

Gohagan bowled his way onto the Greater Dayton USBC All-City Team six times, earning the Bowler of the Year title four times between 2005-13. While his bowling titles are plentiful, it has been the moments – not the accolades – that have been most meaningful, like the 300 game he shot at the 2016 USBC Masters in Indianapolis while his dad cheered him on.

“That’s what it’s all about, those moments are so special,” Gohagan said. “I have 210 300s and that’s one I remember.”

While his father died two years ago, Gohagan thinks he would be proud of his accomplishments on and off the lanes.

“He’s the reason I bowl,” Gohagan said of his dad. “It’s my life, I don’t feel like myself when I’m not bowling.”

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