After helping Kansas University’s club team reach the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championships each of the past two years, Burton Gepford will be leaving one Lawrence program for another.
A career change led Gepford to give up his KU coaching position, and it just so happened Free State High needed a new coach.
The “convenient timing,” as Gepford put it, led him to pursue the FSHS job. Pending school board approval, he will be hired.
Up until a few weeks ago, Gepford worked for KU as recreation coordinator for union programs. His on-campus duties made the KU bowling coach position, which he occupied for two years, a great fit. Now that he has accepted a job with Called To Greatness, a local ministry group, a change seemed natural.
Gepford bowled at KU for four years before eventually becoming the program’s coach.
What does that mean for Free State’s bowlers?
“With the knowledge I gained bowling collegiately and coaching collegiately,” Gepford said, “I hope to advance their skills and knowledge in the game.”
The new coach’s experience at KU, FSHS athletic director Mike Hill said, didn’t automatically make Gepford the obvious choice.
“Certainly there were a multitude of things throughout the interview process that made him stand out, and we were pleased to be able to get him,” Hill said.
Gepford’s senior year of high school, he bowled for Shawnee Mission North, one of Free State’s Sunflower League opponents. Hill thought that gave Gepford another advantage.
“He’s been through this,” Hill said. “He knows what high school bowling’s all about.”
Gepford’s goal is to get the best out of each Firebird on the boys and girls teams.
“I want to prep the bowlers for high school bowling,” he said, “and then collegiate bowling for those who want to take the next step.”