Tabor College?s head bowling coach, Daniel Dick, credits divine intervention for turning a foot surgery into an opportunity to return to the coaching world.
Dick, who comes to Hillsboro from Bluefield, Va., has spent the past 15 years working for the United States Postal Service, but coaching and teaching have always been his passion.
?I had surgery on my foot last Thanksgiving, and it got to the point where it wasn?t healing up like the doctor said it should, so I started questioning my longevity at the postal service,? Dick said. ?I wasn?t going to be able to do that anymore, and I didn?t want disability and all that, so I started searching what I really wanted to do.
?My passion?s always been in coaching and teaching, and so it was just a perfect opportunity to get back into it.?
A native of Topeka, Dick is no stranger to the sport of bowling; his family has owned Sunflower Bowl since 1980.
Dick bowled at Wichita State from 1987 to 1992. During a redshirt year, he also served as an associate coach. Following his graduation with a degree in graphic design, he returned to WSU to continue his role as associate coach.
In 1993, Dick joined the United States Army and was medically retired three years later. He returned to WSU in 1996 as an assistant bowling coach, where he helped lead the men?s team to a national title in 1998.
He then transitioned to the postal service, where he has served in a variety of capacities since 1999.
Still, he retained his love for coaching and teaching, and in the end, it was the surgery that provided the catalyst for change.
Dick submitted his resume and was later contacted by Tabor.
?It just kind of all fell into place like it was supposed to,? he said. ?Divine intervention pushed us to Hillsboro, I guess.?
Another piece of the puzzle came together when Dick?s wife, DeAnna, a professional counselor, found work at Tabor as a faculty member.
?I guess Tabor had been looking to start a criminal justice program for the last couple years and they?ve just been waiting for the right time,? Dick said. ?(DeAnna?s) background just fit perfectly for what they were looking for.?
In addition to developing the criminal justice program, DeAnna will teach two psychology courses this year, Dick said.
?That came out of the blue,? he said. ?Never expected any of that, so we couldn?t have scripted it any better.?
The couple has a daughter, Gail (18), and two godchildren: Joshua (8) and Jocelyn (7).
This will be a rebuilding year for the Tabor bowling program, and Dick said he will be in essence starting from scratch with recruiting. If there are not enough athletes for both a men?s and women?s team this year, Tabor will compete as a mixed team.
?We?ll just embrace whatever we have to for this year,? he said. ?We?re going to train them like crazy and get them prepared, so looking forward to it either way.
?We may end up with enough for both squads, which would be great, too, but either way, I think this year we?re going to really focus on the infrastructure of the program.?
The bowling season runs from September to early April but is classified as a winter sport.
Dick said he hopes to enter the team in six or seven tournaments this season.
?We?re going to keep them fairly close this year, so we can get through our fundraising and stuff,? he said. ?So, hopefully get everybody in good position next year to really step up.?
A goal of Dick?s this year is to increase Tabor?s presence in the bowling world. Tabor has the only bowling program in the KCAC.
?My vision of this program is to take it to the national level,? he said. ?Even though it?s a small school, it can be so rewarding, sometimes even more so for a small school, to get there because the whole community kind of latches onto it.?
Dick hopes to provide his athletes with more than an opportunity to bowl.
?I?m trying to develop a pretty all-inclusive program,? he said. ?We?re going to have classes on pro shop management, teach them how to drill and work the equipment.
?A lot of programs never touch any of that stuff, so I think that?ll be a good draw.?
Classroom instruction Dick would like to offer team members includes mental aspects of the game and team play, ball dynamics, lane conditions, transitions and even sports psychology taught by DeAnna.
Dick said he also desires to help players grow in a Christian sports environment.
?I think they?re really big on character around here, and I?ve been so impressed since I?ve been here,? he said. ?That kind of service that everybody does around here, I want the players that come through the program to leave with that, and to leave with knowing the character of the community and the character of Tabor and the character of the program.?
In addition to coaching, Dick will also run Tabor College Bluejay Lanes with DeAnna beginning in September. The couple has plans to develop a youth center with the addition of arcade games, and things like moonlight or disco bowling.
?We?re going to try and do our best to be like a community fun center,? he said. ?Give the kids something like after football games where they can stay in town and have fun, a good safe place, so that?s our goal.?
Dick will also run a full-service pro shop offering grip analysis and custom fittings as well as a variety of bowling accessories in the center. With an in-house drill press already in place, Dick said the pro shop will be able to provide custom drilling of a bowling ball to fit a person?s hand.
Dick emphasized the fact that his vision is for a community fun center, open to the public to use for things like birthday parties or a game of pool, in addition to being a place for the Tabor bowlers to train.
Looking back, Dick said the things he has gone through have helped shape his journey to Hillsboro.
?While you?re going through stuff, sometimes you?re like, ?Why am I here? Why am I in this place, going through whatever I?m going through? In this position??? he said. ?If you keep walking faithfully forward and just going, then you get rewarded.
?When we landed here, it?s just like maybe this is what it was all about for a long time because you couldn?t script it any better.?