Reading two articles published in Bowling This Month magazine drove Curt Morrison to create what he says is one of the best things he has been involved in for a long time — the South Central Indiana Conference.

“They ran two articles in 2005 about high school bowling and said it was the fastest growing high school sport in the country,” Morrison said. “What got my attention was, we didn’t have it here.”

Morrison got in contact with Steve Kunkel, the commissioner of Indiana High School Bowling, and the conference officially formed in 2008 after two years of running independently. Morrison has now retired after 11 years of being the conference coordinator.

“This June, I turned 80 years old,” Morrison said. “I felt like it was time after 11 years that they needed younger blood in there leading the program. Maybe come up with some new ideas, some new initiatives.”

Seymour High School bowling coach Shannon Kelly will take over as the new coordinator of the conference.

When Morrison first began asking around about starting the conference, he was told that it would cost too much. Kunkel quickly informed him that wasn’t the case. Kunkel told him there were five other schools interested in pairing with the Columbus North team to make a conference, so they set a date on when they would make it happen.

Three schools backed out, leaving only the North, Madison and South Ripley high school teams. Three teams were not enough for the conference to join Indiana High School Bowling, but they had enough bowlers interested to operate independently in hopes of drawing the interest of other schools. Seymour joined the conference going into the third year, which gave SCIC enough schools to join.

It normally takes six schools to join as an official conference, but they were given permission to join with only four. By 2014, the SCIC had grown to 14 schools with 23 teams, including junior varsity squads.

The conference has lost a couple schools since then and is now down to 12, but should have up to 19 teams this year.

Morrison may have retired from being the head coordinator, but he is not completely walking away from it all. He will be acting as this year’s assistant coordinator and will help Kelly transition into his new role.

“He’s been a great mentor,” Kelly said. “I’m very proud to call Curt a friend and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future … Curt has always shown patience and respect for everybody. He listens to everybody’s questions or concerns, and I respect him very much for that.”

One of the duties of the conference coordinator is to run their sectional tournament, but Morrison also has been the tournament director for three regional tournaments over the years. He has been an official at every Indiana High School Bowling tournament since 2006. When people ask him about being coordinator for 11 years, Morrison replies by saying the kids are what keeps him young.

Keeping kids off the streets by giving them a positive outlet and helping them grow through bowling is one of the main reasons why Morrison started the SCIC. He has been informed on numerous occasions about how some of his bowlers who may have been struggling with grades before joining have risen their performance in the classroom in order to stay with the team.

Morrison gives a lot credit to the coaches who help make that possible. Almost all of them are volunteer coaches.

“All of these people do this because they love the game,” Morrison said. “They love working with kids. That’s been the great part, seeing the kids grow … I enjoy the relationships I’ve had with them and the coaches.”

At a glance

South Central Indiana Conference

Columbus East

Columbus North

Trinity Lutheran

Bedford North Lawrence

Bloomington North

Bloomington South

Eastern Greene

Madison

Scottsburg

Seymour

South Ripley

Southwestern (Hanover)

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.