Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and what you enjoy doing in your free time – I am an avid outdoorsman and marksman, and own two businesses in Newcomerstown (Now & Then Guns-n-Stuff and NTGS Customs). My wife is Robyn, and we have three daughters, Hailey, Maddie, and Libby. I spend my time bowling, hunting, fishing and spending time with my daughters and wife.
Tell us about your bowling background and what you enjoy about the sport – I started bowling when I was 4, and by the age of 13 I was playing in the men’s leagues with my dad. Bowling was a place my dad, me, and brother bonded with, and no matter what happened, we found peace in the sport. Over the past 44 years, I’ve done a lot in the game with 30+ 300 games and 13,800 series. She has held home records at four different bowling alleys at different times. I tell people that bowling is my sanctuary with just myself, a ball, 10 pins and 60 feet of lane where everything else can be put aside for a while.
How did the idea for a high level bowling team for the newcomers come about? – It has been on the horizon for a while. The students started a club and have been doing some bowling in 2020-2021. Most of the surrounding schools had already had teams for many years, and once the Inter-Valley Conference voted to include them, Newcomerstown quickly moved forward to get our students involved in the program.
How will this new sport benefit the new high school in town, and what is your main focus? – First, it gives students who are not normally associated with sports an opportunity to participate in a team environment and be recognized as part of the team. With this being our first year, the main focus will be on learning and enjoying the sport. My main goal for our children is to teach them to work together, support each other on and off the lanes, learn to follow instructions and develop team skills. In the long term, there are scholarships available in sports as well as students who have the option of joining recreational bowling after graduation as well as the possibility of pursuing a professional career in the sport.
How can individuals or companies help with a startup? Is there a booster club? – There is a team booster club and we welcome everyone and any donations. You can contact myself, Newcomerstown High School Athletic Director Chad Elliott, or Booster Club President Sara Shepherd if you’d like to make a donation.
When does the season start, and how long does it last? – The season started on November 4th with training, and our first game was on November 21stStreet. We will be traveling to games in Millersburg, New Philadelphia and Coshocton.
What do you want to highlight? – It is my belief that sports can help teach life lessons, and bowling is no different. I will teach team members about living in the present, that you cannot change the last ball, nor anticipate the future shot; But simply control what you do each time, which in turn will create the results you want in the future. Just like in life, live now how you want your future to be and let go of the past that you can’t change. There are several people who have worked behind the scenes to get this brand new winter sport started at Newcomerstown High School, as well as helping me get everything I need as a coach fit and ready. I would like to thank and send special thanks to Aaron Shanklin (Wabash Lanes) who was there every step of the way in helping us get the program started and helping me with what I needed to train. In addition, Penny and Lyman Clark (Cy Young Lanes) have been extremely supportive of our team and have come together to make this happen, as well as the Newcomerstown Athletic Department, our boosters, teammates and parents. However, I couldn’t do any of this without Robyn standing by me supportive and encouraging even as I add more to our already busy schedule with our three girls in sports, two businesses, a full time job as a computer programmer and now as a coach.
More on Coach Kevin Heinekrat
Favorite Quote – “I succeed because I fail.” – Michael Jordan
What would readers be surprised to know about you? – I’m a computer programmer by trade, which goes against the tough guy outdoorsman stereotype.