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M'ville man coaches some of the best, and the rest
Ron Hoppe examines Austin Riley's form at Strawberry Lanes in Marysville.
MARYSVILLE — Globetrotter, bowler and coach Ron Hoppe, 76, has worked with some world-class bowlers in his lifetime.
The United State Bowling Congress Gold certified coach has worked with renowned bowlers from Chris Barnes, an owner of 17 career PBA tour titles, to having hall of famer Brian Voss and other bowlers live out of his basement in Tacoma.
There are only 17 gold certified coaches in the world, Hoppe said.
“I got to meet some of the people that others have read about,” he said.
Some of his biggest achievements were creating hall of fame bowlers, such as, Voss, who was inducted in 1994.
Hoppe’s name made national headlines when he led the South Korea bowling team in defeating Japan in medal count during the 1994 Asian Games. South Korea led with 11 medals over Japan’s nine.
Now retired, Hoppe occasionally coaches at Strawberry Lanes in Marysville, where he has resided since 2002, but does most of his coaching in a facility in Burlington.
He coaches bowlers of all ages but his favorite group is the senior league, because of the similar aches, pains and slowly deteriorating skills they share.
“Whatever they’re going through, I know about it,” he said.
He’s been in the business for nearly 50 years, coaching bowlers around the world.
“I don’t know if I’m famous, but I’m certainly well-known in the bowling community,” he said.
Hoppe can be inadvertently described as a globetrotter, having traveled to 43 countries in his coaching career.
Hoppe has bowled for a good portion of his life. He toured as a member of the Professional Bowlers Association for years but wasn’t dedicated enough to compete with the professionals. He got to share lanes with big-name bowlers like Dick Weber who founded the PBA in 1958.
“I got to bowl with some of the biggest bowlers on the planet,” he said.
“If your going to try and be professional it’s the same skills required in any other sport,” he said. “For me, I would have to be very selfish, and want it for myself — that didn’t fit very well with how I felt about it.”
After his stint touring with the PBA, Hoppe opened his first pro shop in 1965 and customize bowling balls for clients and worked in the pro shop business through the 1970s.
His pro shop career catalyzed his coaching career. “You’re selling your services to creating a ball that fits someone’s hand and skill level,” he said. “It’s all one unit.”
In the 1990s, he founded the International Bowling Pro Shop Instructors and Association, an organization that aids in training and recognition of pro shop owners. Soon after establishing the IBPSIA, Hoppe began coaching around the world.
“That has been an incredible journey, he said. “I was very fortunate.”