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April 23, 2014

Rochester College to launch men’s and women’s bowling program

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

A fresh opportunity has become available for local high school bowlers who are interested in playing at the next level, as Rochester College is slated to launch a bowling program beginning in the 2014-15 season.

Current Madison Heights Bishop Foley coach Rick Maruszczak was selected as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs.

This represents Maruszczak’s first opportunity to coach at the college level, and it doesn’t seem to be one he is taking for granted.

“Really excited,” said Maruszczak, who has also coached at Royal Oak Shrine and Center Line St. Clement. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s a new avenue for me, as far as bowling. I’ve coached at all levels, and this is like the pinnacle of it. It’s an exciting sport at this level. You got the best of the best competing at this level. It’s really exciting. I look forward to it.”

After landing the job, one of Maruszczak’s top priorities was to begin recruiting, a process that he said is “going good.” He indicated that the roster for the women’s team is almost full, with the men’s team about two or three bowlers away from being complete (although the rosters can be expanded).

Maruszczak referred to Michigan as the “premiere capital” of bowling, and said “it is one of the most popular sports in this state.”

Aside from the popularity of the sport, Maruszczak’s role as a head coach has presented him with a great opportunity to get a look at some of the talented players this state has to offer — players he will now have a chance to recruit.

“There’s always really good talent coming out of our state,” he said. “Being a high school coach, I can see them firsthand. I see them a little bit sooner than a lot of the other college coaches. I can see who to watch earlier. Being in bowling for as long as I have, I know a lot of people, and they keep me informed of kids that are pretty good.”

Sports Information Director Ryan Chipka shared his thoughts regarding the addition of a men’s and women’s bowling program to Rochester College.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “We’ve been growing. We added women’s cross country last year, then we’ve added men’s and women’s tennis this upcoming year, and men’s and women’s bowling. We’re excited about coach Maruszczak, and excited about bringing bowling, which is an emerging sport. This is a prime area in metro Detroit for a bowling program, so we’re excited to see all it has for us.”

While Maruszczak cited bringing attention to Rochester College’s bowling program as a short-term goal, winning matches is still the main goal.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t have some really good results right away,” he said.

Maruszczak doesn’t exactly seem to be thinking small when it comes to Rochester College’s long-term prospects, either.

“If we build a program as anticipated, we’ll not only have a varsity program for men and women — we’ll have a junior varsity program where the new recruits come in,” said Maruszczak, who indicated that the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) does allow partial scholarship opportunities. “They’ll get a feel and the experience they need to move up to the varsity level. Experienced bowlers will be going to certain tournaments, and the junior varsity program will have their own programs they’ll be going to.

“The response I’ve been getting — it’s pretty good. The talk is getting out there. That’s playing huge into what we’re trying to do.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the men’s and women’s bowling programs at Rochester College can click on rochestercollegewarriors.com or email Maruszczak at rmaruszczak@rc.edu.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.