PBA Senior South Shore Open: Harry Sullins, Mike Kozy relive memories
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent August 6, 2012 9:40PM
Updated: September 8, 2012 6:18AM
HAMMOND — Before Harry Sullins left his mark on the Professional Bowlers Association as a five-time national champion, he spent two years in college as a teammate of Olympia Lanes manager Mike Kozy during a successful run at Vincennes University in the mid-to-late 1970s.
So when Sullins captured the Hammond Senior Open last August at Olympia, his third senior title on the 50-and-above circuit, it was yet another memorable link between him and his old college friend.
The two helped make Vincennes history in 1978 when the team rolled a then-school record 3,168 against Ball State — with Sullins, the team’s captain, rolling a 648 (234, 201, 213) and Kozy rolling a 641 (173, 248, 220).
“I still have a whole bunch of articles and photos of those days in a scrapbook,” said Sullins, who’s back to defend his title at this week’s PBA Senior South Shore Open and is currently in 13th place in senior points for the 2012 season. “Mike and I bowled a lot together in those two years around Indiana and Illinois, and we also bowled against some Big Ten Schools. We were still in the era of rubber and plastic balls.”
Obviously a lot has changed for Sullins, and for the sport, since those days when he won about a dozen tournaments before transitioning to the PBA and winning a regional title in his first event.
In addition to his five national titles, Sullins also won a tourney in Europe in 1990 that is not recognized as a PBA title.
Ironically, Sullins almost wound up at Olympia Lanes 20 years before winning last season when Kozy contacted him about joining Olympia’s pro shop after the passing of local association hall of famer Dave Norton. Sullins, however, was already working for a pro shop in his home state of Michigan.
“It would have been nice to have him, but the timing just wasn’t right,” Kozy said.
Kozy did have a memory at Vincennes about Sullins when a bowling coach and author, Lou Belissimo, offered a less than flattering critique about Sullins’ bowling future.
“Lou said to him, ‘Son, you’re going nowhere; you need to change your release and delivery,’ and that was Lou’s advice,” Kozy said. “Harold never did change, and away he went to a great career. Lou was just a coach and Harold drummed to his own beat.”
After more than 30 years in the sport, Sullins said he’s pretty satisfied with his accomplishments on the national and senior tours.
“It’s been a pretty good career for me,” he said. “I just keep competing.”
Competing with Sullins at this week’s Senior South Shore Open are 15 other bowlers, who combined with Sullins’ five titles, have won a total of 170 PBA National titles. That group features Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr., who is currently in the points lead for senior bowler of the year, Amleto Monacelli, Wayne Webb, Dave Soutar, Johnny Petraglia, Tom Baker, Mark Williams, Roy Buckley and Dale Eagle.
Other previous champions at Olympia Lanes in the field include two-time champion Mark Williams (2008 and 2009), Michael Henry (2010), Tim Kauble (2008 Senior Lake County Golden Anniversary), Don Sylvia (2007), Gene Vincent (2005), Vince Mazzanti Jr. (2003) and Soutar (2002).