Wright State bowling coach earns hall of fame nod

It’s not about the awards or accolades for Jeff Fleck, it’s about family and friendship.

The longtime Wright State University bowling coach will be inducted into the Ohio State United Stats Bowling Congress Hall of Fame as a Friend of Ohio Bowling in May. The honor is presented to those who support or promote Ohio bowling or bowlers or, in Fleck’s case, both.

“I don’t do it for the recognition, I just love giving back,” Fleck said. “But it is hard work, so it means a lot that my body of work is worthy of being inducted into the hall of fame.”

Fleck’s body of work is extensive as he was instrumental in establishing a bowling program at Wright State in 2005. From its humble beginnings, the Raiders have become a perennial contender as the Wright State’s women’s program, under Fleck’s leadership, advanced to the final 16-team United States Bowling Congress national tournament seven times between 2009-2017, finishing a program-best third in 2013. The women also won the National Collegiate Club Championship in 2015 and 2019 and were runners-up in 2014 and 2016.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” he said. “In the beginning, we were begging people to bowl for us and now, they are reaching out to us and want to bowl here.”

Beyond the Raiders’ team success, Fleck is a six-time recipient of the Club Team Bowling Coaches Association Larry Wilson Women’s Club Coach of the Year award. He also earned the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association 2015-16 Kerm Helmer Women’s Coach of the Year title – awarded from a field that included NCAA, NCJAA and NAIA coaches as well as collegiate club coaches.

In 2020, Fleck received the NCBCA 2019-20 Gordon Teigen Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to collegiate bowling. Those contributions included being a charter committee member for the National Collegiate Club Championships and serving on the NCBCA board of directors.

The Raiders coach has also been recognized closer to home as he was the recipient of the Katherine W. Morris Award from Wright State University in 2016 – awarded for outstanding contributions in cultural, educational, social, recreational or community service programming. In 2020, he was named Advisor of the Year for his dedication to the bowling program and support of his student athletes.

“Family is one of the big words we use,” Fleck said of the Raiders. “They hear it and they see it and they sense that we are all part of a family.”

A member of the Greater Dayton USBC Hall of Fame for superior bowling performance since 2009, Fleck appreciates the recognition he has received as a bowling coach, not simply a bowler.

“Both are cherished parts of my life,” he said. “It’s pretty great when you win an award for doing something you love.”

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