ARLINGTON, Texas – Most bowling fans know Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, as one of the world’s top competitors or even as a personality on various bowling telecasts, but they’ll get to see her in a new capacity in 2022 as the head coach for the Junior Team USA bowling program.
Kulick, a United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer and USBC Silver coach, will assume the position vacated by Bryan O’Keefe, who was named head coach of Team USA in June. The two have worked together for the past four years and will continue to do so in their new positions.
Since 2017, Kulick has been one of seven assistant coaches for Team USA, offering her expertise at a variety of camps and international events.
Her new role puts her at the helm of the expanding junior program that now includes more than two dozen Junior Team USA members and the members of the developmental team.
Kulick will begin her tenure at the upcoming USBC Team USA Trials, an event she won in 2019 and 2020.
“There are few things more special and rewarding than standing on the podium and hearing our national anthem, but helping others experience that for the first time might be one of those things,” Kulick said. “I’m extremely proud of my career with Team USA, and I’m excited to continue that by helping the next generation of champions reach their dreams.”
For more than two decades, Kulick has been a standout on the lanes for Team USA, earning dozens of medals across the globe. She is a 17-time member of the team and was a Junior Team USA member in 1998 and 2000.
Team USA women with team gold at 2021 IBF Super World ChampionshipsThe 44-year-old right-hander won her first international medal in 1998 and most recently took home a pair of medals and co-Most Valuable Player honors at the 2021 International Bowling Federation Super World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The years in between have been filled with success on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour and as a pioneer on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, where she became the first woman to win a PBA Tour title. She won the PBA Tournament of Champions in 2010.
Kulick also has been involved in the administrative side of the sport, serving three terms on the USBC Board of Directors. Her stint concluded at the end of the 2019-2020 season, but she continues to serve as a member of the USBC Hall of Fame Committee.
When not competing or carrying out her committee responsibilities, Kulick has been passionate about helping others improve and succeed – in bowling and in other areas of life and fitness.
Coaching bowling is a journey that started close to home as a student, and later as an instructor, for New Jersey’s Dick Ritger Bowling Camps. She has been a Level 3 Master Dick Ritger coach since 1995.
Kulick’s coaching endeavors have taken her as far as Australia for regular clinics and appearances, and her official debut as part of the Team USA coaching staff came at the 2018 IBF World Youth Championships in the Detroit area.
“Kelly has been a huge part of Team USA’s on-lane success over the last 20 years, and she has been a great influence for the Junior Team USA players through her role as an assistant coach,” O’Keefe said. “Her transition to this new opportunity is a logical next step in her career, and I know it will be seamless due to her experience as a player and coach and because of her familiarity with international competition. I respect Kelly as a competitor and as a colleague, and I know she will be a great leader for the next generation of young standouts.”
While bowling became Kulick’s career since graduating from Morehead State University in 2000, her bachelor’s degree in physical and health education has served her well for her own fitness goals and in helping others.
She is part of the National Exercise Trainers Association and certified in kettlebell and foam rolling. She also teaches line dancing and group exercise classes and can offer advice as a nutrition specialty coach. The latter stemmed from a passion for food and cooking.