Coach finishes final season for men’s bowling team


The team poses in front of the lanes at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, NV while attending the USBC Open Championships in 2021.

Ivy Steege, Journalist

Since 2018, there has been one bowling team at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater to take home two-national championship titles. Currently ranked ninth in the nation by the United States Bowling Congress, the Whitewater Men’s Bowling team has accumulated several awards over the past decade largely thanks to the addition of Coach Shawn Wochner.

Wochner started his bowling career at the age of five with the support of his parents who were also bowling enthusiasts, leading him to join the sport. His college search eventually led Wochner to bowl at Western Illinois University for five years where he started the Leatherneck Classic bowling tournament. Afterward, Wochner worked as the Assistant Coach for the Bowling Program at Robert Morris College.

It wasn’t until a student at the aforementioned institution transferred to UW-Whitewater in 2010, that Wochner first received the offer to coach for Whitewater’s Club Bowling. When first considering coaching for the Whitewater Bowling Team, Wochner says the atmosphere reminded him of his alma mater Western Illinois University. 

“I always tell students that quality of education is the most important aspect to research when applying to colleges. That is one of the aspects that drew me to Whitewater, and that is something that definitely kept me here,” said Wochner.

Under Wochner’s lead, the team has received several consecutive sectional invites, along with playing for the USBC National Championships, and the Collegiate Club Championships. They also have had over 50 tournament wins since 2010. Wochner also is the only men’s bowling coach to have been named the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Coach of the Year three times, as well as the Randy Widger Men’s Club Coach of the Year for the past six consecutive years.

The impact Wochner has made on the Men’s Bowling Program is not only apparent through the number of awards the team has received, but also through the spirit they possess. 

“He is the most committed person I’ve ever met in my entire life. It’s insane the amount of work he puts into this team, for the little he is compensated to do it,” says Junior Drake Bazzy.

Five minutes before his commitment to another college, Bazzy stated that Wochner made him change his mind. 

“Coach Shawn sent me a long-detailed message, and his sarcasm and wit are what made me choose Whitewater. I haven’t regretted that decision.” 

On top of being a volunteer coach at UWW, Wochner works at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, IL. Though he says he is done coaching bowling in the “traditional sense” after this season; Wochner has other ways he plans to contribute to the sport. He plans on hosting consulting workshops for other college-level bowling teams. Wochner says he hopes to start a bi-weekly Facebook Live event speaking about different misconceptions surrounding college athletics.

The legacy Coach Wochner has left UW-W Men’s Bowling Team will be memorialized through numerous awards, tournament appearances, and the environment he fostered to keep up the morale in the team. For now, the search for a new volunteer coach is continuing.

“It’s what I loved, and all the guys will always hold a special place in my heart,” says Wochner, “I want nothing but the best for the program, which is why we’re already starting the search for the new coach. I want to leave it in good hands, that is the intent.”

Coach Wochner and several bowlers exchange high-fives at the beginning of a tournament.