One of the largest NAIA athletic programs in the nation is growing again as the University of Mobile announces the addition of men’s and women’s bowling for fall semester 2022.
The university now has 21 sanctioned NAIA sports, including the addition in 2021 of beach volleyball. Athletic Director Mel Sansom said UM plans to continue adding more athletic programs over the next few years to expand opportunities for student-athletes at the Christian university.
“We look forward to the excitement this new sport will bring to our campus and the additional student-athletes that will join us at this special place,” said Sansom, who also serves as vice president for business and financial affairs.
UM’s first head coach for men’s and women’s bowling is Stephen Fuller. He joins the UM Athletic Department in a part-time capacity while continuing as a teacher at Satsuma High School.
Fuller coached Satsuma High School varsity girls and boys bowling from 2016 to 2022. In 2021, Fuller led Satsuma’s varsity girls bowling team to a state championship victory and was awarded the 2020–21 State Championship Coach Award for 1A–5A Girls Bowling by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. In each season Fuller has coached bowling at Satsuma High School, his teams have reached postseason play while earning several area and regional championships.
Prior to his time at Satsuma High School, Fuller’s experience in coaching began in 1994 when he was named assistant baseball coach at his alma mater, William Carey University. In 1999, Fuller was named head baseball coach at Citronelle High School where he spent five years before transferring to Satsuma High School to coach several sports. Throughout his coaching career, Fuller has coached four total sports: bowling, baseball, football and golf.
“I’m super excited for the opportunity to start a bowling program at the University of Mobile,” Fuller said. “The sport of bowling is growing at the high school level by leaps and bounds, and it is catching on at the collegiate level. It is just going to get bigger and bigger and give more opportunities for student-athletes to further their education.”
Fuller officially starts July 1 but is already busy setting up schedules, ordering equipment and recruiting UM’s first bowling teams. To be considered for the inaugural men’s or women’s bowling teams, complete the Prospective Athlete Form at umobile.edu/recruitme or contact associate athletic director Sally Shouppe in the UM Athletic Department at 251-442-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bowling season in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division occurs during the winter months with the regular season typically beginning in October and ending in February. The NAIA Bowling National Championship tournament is scheduled in March of each year and is currently played in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The University of Mobile’s hosted tournaments during the regular season will be played at a local bowling alley in Mobile, Alabama.