Dobyns-Bennett bowling coach Debbie Knott talks with her team members recently. D-B is entering its 13th season with a bowling team, and Knott has been at the helm of the boys’ and girls’ teams from the start. Photo by Ned Jilton.
KINGSPORT — Statisticians have calculated the odds of bowling a perfect game at 1 in 11,500.
The odds of being named bowling coach of the year in the state of Tennessee? Those haven’t been calculated.
For Dobyns-Bennett bowling coach Debbie Knott, there isn’t a need to figure the odds. Knott was recently named the TSSAA 2012-13 State of Tennessee Bowling Coach of the Ye a r.
D-B is entering its 13th season with a bowling team, and Knott has been at the helm of both the boys’ and girls’ teams since the inception.
The Indians compete in Region 1 with Greeneville, Chuckey-Doak, West Greene, Cherokee and Cumberland Gap.
The focus of the award was the success she has had with the girls’ team. In 12 seasons, the girls’ team has posted a record of 137 wins and 54 losses. Included in that total are nine district championships, seven regional championships and an appearance in nine state tournaments.
The Lady Indians finished in fourth place in the state in 2000-01. “You have to have a minimum of six players for a match, and I’ve been blessed to be able to field a team every year,” said Knott. “Right now I have seven members of the girls’ team and nine members on the boys’.”
Some schools struggle to field enough players yearly, having either to field a co-ed team or simply not participate.
Bowling was not something Knott grew up with. Originally from Staunton, Va., her parents were farmers, and she only started bowling after taking a part-time job with her husband, who managed the local bowling a l l e y.
Her interest and participation grew, and in time she was in charge of the local youth leagues.
The family moved to Kingsport 20 years ago, when she took a position at a local collection agency. She left that to pursue the coaching opportunity and also become a full-time substitute teacher for Kingsport City Schools.
Aside from serving as head coach, she also is the president of the United States Bowling Congress Tennessee State Youth Association and is certified at the Bronze Level by the USBC.
Bowling has become a family affair for the Knotts. Along with her husband, Kenny, their two daughters and five grandchildren all bowl.
Her daughter, April Taylor, is her assistant coach.
Another family she is proud of is the players who have come through the sport while at D-B.
Currently, Derek Phillips is on a bowling scholarship at Martin-Methodist University, and alumnus Michael Jeter recently graduated from there.
Another alumnus, Zach Adams, is in process of joining the bowling team at Louisiana State University.
“The team has a Facebook page and all the former players keep up with what is happening. They also like to come back and watch the matches,” said Knott.
The prep bowling season continues through the fall, and playoffs begin in January. The state tournament will be held in Smyrna.
While the tournament is a couple of months away, Knott’s teams are currently undefeated, with the region’s top seven girls individual spots are occupied by Tribe bowlers.
The boys’ team is in command of the top three spots.