Brooklyn Boro

Scholastic Roundup: A bowler who ripped the cover off the ball

December 19, 2021 Andy Furman
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He was the second bowler to earn $1 million in career earnings – Mark Roth was one of the all-time greats in the sport.

He was born in Brooklyn and bowling entered his life when Rainbow Lanes was built near his home.

He averaged 160 at 13 –it soared to 195 at 17.

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The Sheepshead Bay High School grad worked at Rainbow Lanes as a pin boy and later as a mechanic operating the automatic pin-setting machines.

His Sheepshead Bay team traveled the borough, and often faced-off with another P.B.A. Hall of Famer – Johnny Petraglia.

Roth joined the pro tour in 1970.

In fact, he told Sports Illustrated: “I got thrown out of lots of places. They got tired of me winning, so they said, ‘Get out and don’t come back.’”

In 1970 he earned only about $1,000, and he didn’t win his first title until 1975 at the King Louie Open in Overland Park, Kan.

In 1984 his victory at the Greater Detroit Open pushed his career earnings over $1 million – and he then joined Earl Anthony as the only other bowler to then reach that level.

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In that same year Roth and a partner purchased Rainbow Lanes and he remained owner until the mid-1990s.

He won his final tournament on the P.B.A. Tour in 1995 at the IOF Foresters Open in Mississauga, Ontario – outside of Toronto. He netted $45,000 for the win.

Roth had a severe stroke in 2009 that partly paralyzed his left side – h was able to eventually walk wit a quad cane through physical therapy.

Roth passed at the age of 70 in late November in Oswego, N.Y. The cause was congestive heart failure, according to his wife Denise Roth.

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Finally – after dropping their first eight games, the St. Francis College Terriers basketball team won.

They defeated the Peacocks of St. Peter’s College – in Jersey City – last week, 71-60. Guards Mike Cubbage and Rob Higgins added 15 and 13 points, respectively. And the streak continued this past Saturday with a win over Delaware State, 75-61.

Higgins scored 17 and Cubbage added 16 points and six rebounds.

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Lee Cutrone, an avid Terriers’ fan – and graduate of the school – believes he knows what’s missing recently with the basketball program.

“They don’t seem to play any “cupcake games,” he writes —  “where a St. Francis win would be guaranteed. Think Pace and Yeshiva and teams like that.”

Cutrone says he remembers having dinner with the former Marquette basketball coach, Al McGuire, when he was involved with Medalist Industries.

“When I told him I went to St. Francis, his comment was, ‘Oh, that was one of our cupcake games at the beginning of the season.’”

Seems St. Francis is good at being the cupcake, according to Cutrone, but not finding any cupcakes to play. “Unless,” he adds, “some of these losses were to cupcakes. Then, we’re really in trouble.”

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Tom Konchalski had spent 43 years evaluating college basketball prospects and published and wrote the High School Basketball Insider Report since 1979. He also took ownership of the Five Star Basketball Camp, which has seen NBA legends Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Patrick Ewing and more participate in the camp during their high school careers.

The HSBI Report was written on Konchalski’s typewriter and was mailed out 16 times-a-year to more than 200 college coaches who subscribed. It served as a scouting report, evaluation and rankings list for hundreds of prospects.

Konchalski, who retired last year from publishing the newsletter, died at the age of 74 this past February in hospice care in the Bronx. The cause was prostate cancer, said his brother Steve who retired after 46 seasons as the men’s basketball coach at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

The newly-formed Thomas C. Konchalski Foundation has announced a Mass and luncheon, Saturday, January 8th at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 110—06 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, Queens.

The keynote speaker will be Madison Square Garden network’s Mike Quick.

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How can you not mention a basketball coach with over 700 career wins? We will.

Ken Shields, a member of the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, amassed 460 wins as a Kentucky high school coach – the most wins in the Commonwealth’s 9th Region.

As a college coach at Northern Kentucky University, he won 306 – the most in the school’s history—and took two teams to the NCAA II Finals.

He had nine 20-plus win seasons in a remarkable career – and his 766 wins as a head basketball coach tops the win-list for any head basketball coach in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected]e.com Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR


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