It will be a stellar group of enshrinees when the Greater Buffalo USBC Association inducts the Class of 2014 to its Hall of Fame on Nov. 29 at Samuel’s Grande Manor. None, though, has waited longer to be singled out than Frank Coburn.
Coburn, 93, had accomplishments of his own on the lanes. He won the 1965 Obenauer Masters, defeating Bud Schwabl in the title match at the old Franklin Bowl-o-Drome. The year before he won a qualifier by defeating Schwabl for a berth in the National Masters Tournament. All that aside, Coburn is best known as a coach and clinician. He most directly guided the careers of his wife, Doris, and daughters Kathy and Cindy, but he has been a mentor to hundreds of the best bowlers in Western New York and to even more recreational or league bowlers over the years.
Bowlers Journal once put together a list of the top 100 bowling coaches in the country. Frank Coburn was on it.
Coburn will enter the hall in the meritorious service category along with Dave Miller, who has made countless contributions to the local bowling scene as a reporter, photographer, league organizer and officer and overall enthusiast. You find Miller at almost every bowling event of any import in Western New York.
Four bowlers will be inducted for bowling performance. Among the women, the enshrinees will be Sue Nawojski and Lauren Sutton. Among the men, they will be Kevin Iwaniak and Dave Guindon.
Two others, Frank “Butch” Benhatzel among the men, and Kay Jeziorski among the women, have been elected in the Veterans Category.
Iwaniak bowled City championship teams in 2003 and 2011 and had a 747 series in teaming with Joe Wagner to win the 2010 City Doubles title. He was the runner-up to Pat Stefanik in the 1992 Obenauer Masters.
Guindon gained fame for his exploits in megabucks tournaments in Las Vegas – he once won a $100,000 tournament – and has bowled all over the world. His local achievements include the 1986 Obenauer Masters championship and a runner-up finish in 1996. Also he won two City All-Events titles, a City doubles championship and was on two championship teams, all in scratch competition.
Nawojski is one of the mainstays on the Bowlers Choice teams that has won six GBUSBC Women’s scratch team titles. She also bowled on two mixed Bowlers Choice teams that won two overall City scratch team championships. The same team also won the team title at the USBC Women’s Championships. Individually, she has won two Western New York Queens titles (1992 and 2005).
Sutton was the 1988 WNY Queens winner.
Benhatzel was runner-up in the 1975 Obenauer and also had third- and fifth-place finishes in the most prestigious local tournament. He bowled in 23 straight Obenauers starting in 1971.
• The registration deadline for the GBUSBC City and Women’s Championship at AMF Lancaster Lanes has been extended to April 15. Tournament dates are April 28-May 10. Entries will be accepted for the GBUSBC Stan Kowalski Seniors Open Singles Championship to April 18. The Kowalski will be at Broadway Sports Center, April 26-27.
• Some individual accomplishments this week that deserve to be mentioned:
Jerry Carroll, Frank Coburn’s son in law, bowled a 254-300-300 on Tuesday night at Bowl-o-Drome in Niagara Falls.
Veteran Bill Truman, who was inducted into the Tonawandas USBC Association Hall of Fame last fall, bowled a 300-269-268-837 series in the Super Seniors Shootout at Transit Lanes on Wednesday night.
• The 22nd annual Western New York Seniors Masters will be today and Sunday at Kenmore Lanes. There will be two squads today, at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m. with finals to follow. Walk-ins are welcome. Entry fee is $60.