New Lenox’s Scott Ullian was an accomplished bowler in his own right – but put competition aside to train the next generation of bowlers.
And Ullian recently received recognition for that.
On October 2, Scott Ullian was inducted into the Greater Joliet Area Bowling Hall of Fame for meritorious service. According to Jan Herrod, vice president of the Joliet Area USBC Youth Association, the Greater Joliet Area Bowling Hall of Fame is an organization within the Joliet Area USBC Youth Association.
“He’s just a great guy all around,” Herrod said. “Everyone respects him. Everyone is looking at him. It’s amazing what he has done for young bowlers in the area.
Ullian is the youth executive and vice president of the Joliet Area USBC Youth Association, a youth tournament director, certified bowling coach at the bronze and silver levels, the head coach of the girls’ bowling team at Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox and volunteer coach for Team Illinois through Illinois State’s Young Leaders.
Scott Ullian also teaches private students and helps run bowling clinics.
Herrod said Ullian, a senior financial analyst with Dober Chemical for 18 years and someone who has received many outstanding accolades for his dedication and work ethic, also manages all financial aspects of the youth bowling program.
Kathy Ullian of New Lenox, the mother of Scott Ullian, said her son “eats, drinks, sleeps and breathes bowling” and “tirelessly devotes a lot of time and energy to the spirit of bowling for the next generation. ”.
Ullian understands the challenges children can face on the path. He was once that kid and he came from a family of accomplished bowlers.
“Honestly, I didn’t like it at first.”
Shortly after Scott Ullian, 8, moved to New Lenox with his family, his parents Jim and Kathy Ullian of New Lenox signed their shy son for a bowling league now known as Laraway Lanes, said Scott Ullian.
“I honestly didn’t like it at first,” Scott Ullian said. “I didn’t have a good first day and I didn’t want to go back. But my parents said, ‘We signed you up. You do it at least for the year. The rest is history.
Scott Ullian said he enjoyed the league once his game improved and he “got to know” other young bowlers, some of whom attended his school. Scott Ullian finally started competing – and winning – in tournaments.
He bowled with his grandfather John Ullian in some adult/youth tournaments, he said.
“I shot my first 300 with my dad’s bowling tournament,” Scott Ullian said.
Scott Ullian was 17, so he scored that perfect game as a young bowler. It was in 1990, he says.
Kathy Ullian started a family tradition on Friday nights when Jim Ullian was working, Scott Ullian said.
“She would take me and my brother bowling and then go out to dinner and get groceries,” Scott Ullian said. “That was our Friday night thing to do.”
Scott Ullian said he went bowling with his parents in adult leagues. His maternal grandmother Matilda Tadey was also a good player, he said. But he didn’t bowl as a high school sport, he said.
“There was nothing in high school for boys back then,” Scott Ullian said. “So I never really had that opportunity like kids do now. But I got better and better and found that was my thing to do. I also played baseball for a while. But I was short. I liked the infield but I’m not a good hitter at all. So I really stuck with bowling. It’s something you can do all the time.
Scott Ullian has since averaged 223, 15,300 games and four 800 series, with a high of 819 in 1993, Herrod said. Additionally, Ullian has earned six top-five finishes and three second-place finishes at the Will County Open, Herrod said.
Fostering “the spirit of bowling for the next generation”
Scott Ullian said he started hosting bowling lessons in the early 1990s three times a year with his wife, Lisa Ullian, in the Manhattan Park District. And he continued to compete in tournaments until his children Eric Ullian and Mackenzie Ullian were old enough to bowl.
“I got into helping them and focusing on them,” Scott Ullian said. “I liked watching them. It kind of blossomed from there.
When Eric Ullian, then 7, started bowling in a league at Town and Country Bowling in Joliet, Scott Ullian said. Scott Ullian, he said, started “walking around and helping everybody out there.”
At one point, Scott Ullian was asked to join the Joliet-area USBC Youth Association; he is now its vice-president. Scott Ullian was a volunteer coach when Eric Ullian started bowling at Lincoln-Way West High School, moving on to head bowling coach for boys and then girls when Mackenzie Ullian became a bowler student. Scott Ullian is currently still head coach of the women’s teamhe said.
Eric Ullian is now married to Natalie and lives in Springfield. Mackenzie Ullian bowls for Mount Mercy University in Iowa, Scott Ullian said.
Of course, Scott Ullian wants the youngsters he coaches to do well with their games. But the best part of training for him is watching the kids achieve “personal growth” through bowling.
One example is the autistic child who “couldn’t stand within 5 feet of me because he was so shy” and has now played several 300 games, Scott Ullian said.
“It’s the stories that are worth it,” said Scott Ullian. “Obviously you want the kids to be successful on the slopes. But even with high school kids, how can we use bowling as a way to help them cope with what they’re going to encounter in their adult lives.
Scott Ullian said he let young bowlers know that “some days will be great and some days your best won’t be so great”. But he also tells them that “at the end of the day, if you can say you did your best, that’s all that really matters.”
“I just try to have a positive impact on everyone I meet in life,” Scott Ullian said.
And that’s why being inducted into the Joliet Area Bowling Hall of Fame for meritorious service means more to Scott Ullian than winning tournaments for himself.
“To advance someone else’s life means more to me than shooting a 300 game or being recognized for it,” Scott Ullian said.