Chamberlain native Brooke Green thriving as pro bowler, new college head coach

Jun. 5—DUBUQUE, Iowa. — Bowling has been a pathway to several unique opportunities for Chamberlain native Brooke Green.

It has given her a sense of community, and a chance to meet people she wouldn't otherwise have known. It not only quenches her thirst for competition, but grants her the opportunity to showcase her skills as a member of the Professional Women's Bowling Association.

And it's because of bowling that Green returns to her alma mater, Clarke University, to mentor young athletes. She was named the head bowling coach of the school in Dubuque, Iowa, in April.

"It's crazy," Green said. "I did always see myself growing up to do something with bowling. My parents owned a bowling alley, actually. So I like to say that bowling is in my blood because I literally learned how to walk in a bowling alley. So coming to Clarke and graduating here and then having it be full circle, that kind of just worked out in my favor, and it's definitely the dream."

Growing up, Green's parents owned the only set of lanes in Chamberlain, and simply coined it "The Bowling Alley."

Green, who's maiden name is Allen, was assigned to "help run the show," she said, stocking shelves, getting balls, and performing any miscellaneous tasks that needed to be done. She interacted with customers, and met plenty of people from town.

She also bowled. A lot.

Green participated in the local youth league all while growing up. If there was an adult league going on at The Bowling Alley, she went off to the side of the eight-lane alley, getting her rounds in, and would sometimes be invited to hop in the action.

And the more she played, the more her competitive juices started to flow.

"I was just trying to get my feet wet, trying to get that competition and I was like, 'Wow, I actually really like this,'" Green said. "I liked the drive. I liked the difficulty that it brought me and I think that grew my passion more."

In high school, she was a part of a travel team, competing against other top South Dakota athletes in Pierre, Mitchell and elsewhere. She was a three-time South Dakota Pepsi champion, which helped her garner attention from colleges. She committed to Mount Mercy (Iowa) her senior year.

Ultimately, the program wasn't a good fit for Green and she transferred to Clarke after one year. However, it did work out in one way: It was at Mount Mercy where she met her husband, Brody, who followed her to Clarke. The Pride compete in the NAIA for bowling.

"In my life, yes, it definitely ended up working out," she said. "And I loved Mount Mercy. The bowling program was just not for me. So I ended up coming to Clarke."

Under Clarke's former bowling coach, Andrew Gonner, Greene hit her stride in college.

She collected numerous top-10 finishes throughout her time, highlighted by her senior year, when she reached first-team all-America status by winning the ISC Sectional Tournament in 2021.

That performance helped her decide to join the professional circuit.

The requirement to become a part of the PWBA is to average a score 190 or better per round across different tournaments. If you can reach that benchmark, you're allowed to purchase a membership card, granting you priority placement and discounts to official tournaments.

To purchase the card in an investment, not only in price, but in time, as it signifies you're willing to travel to different cities and compete against other top bowlers.

"I took the leap of faith to get my card," Green said. "I had the full confidence to get it after I won sectionals my senior year of college. After that my husband Brody was just like, 'Hey you beat all these people. You can win.'"

Green's rookie year in the PWBA was in 2022, and she found immediate success, finishing 13th among rookies on the national tour and 81st in total points. Last year, she was 91st in total points.

She'll return to pro action for a handful of tournaments this year, including the PWBA U.S. Open on June 11-18 in Indianapolis.

"I'm excited to go and compete there and meet a bunch of other bowlers," Green said. "I've made lots of friendships from all over the world, just from bowling."

Pro bowling also gives her the ultimate dose of competition. Stepladder matches — or head-to-head matches against another individual — are a particular type of showdown she thrives in.

"It's very competitive, very heart-racing," Green said. "It gets your anxiety up a little bit. But having that winning moment is definitely something that you can't compare to anything else."

Fortunately, pro bowling fits well with Green's new schedule as a head coach. Tournaments are in the summer, so she's able to travel and compete — and recruit on the road — while school isn't in session.

Balancing coaching and competing is common in the industry.

"For professional bowlers, if they're not sponsored by a lot of companies, a lot of them are collegiate coaches or high school coaches. So it just works hand-in-hand," she said.

But for Green, getting into coaching isn't about convenience. She's a teacher by craft, having received her bachelor's degree in elementary education with a special education endorsement. Prior to coaching, she was an assistant director at an early childhood center in Dubuque.

She plans on utilizing her teaching skills to help her as a coach.

"My coaching philosophy is definitely to build a healthy and positive community with my bowlers," Green said. "It's really important to build relationships with those kiddos right off the bat. So I think doing lots of fun activities with them and getting to know them other than bowling will really help build that relationship and build that trust between the players and the coaches."

The program has had its ups and downs in the time Green has been gone, but she's committed to making it competitive once again.

"They've kind of struggled building a team," Green said. "So hopefully with me on board, and with me bowling these professional tournaments, we can get Clarke's name out there so we can get some more recruits coming in and grow our program."