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MailTribune.com
  • Holman has a PBA exec in his corner

  • There might not be anyone on this planet who is more bothered than Tom Clark that the Professional Bowlers Association stop in Medford is not named after Marshall Holman.
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  • There might not be anyone on this planet who is more bothered than Tom Clark that the Professional Bowlers Association stop in Medford is not named after Marshall Holman.
    And that's significant because only one person — Commissioner Fred Schreyer — has more to do with the daily operation of the sport at its highest level.
    When the PBA announced its 2009-10 schedule last week, the event at Lava Lanes indeed got a name change from the Earl Anthony Medford Classic. But it didn't change over to Holman, the hometown boy who came to be known as the Medford Meteor and was one of the heralded sports figures of the 1970s and '80s. January's tournament will be the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles.
    More than a slight to Holman, it was a function of widespread changes to the tour and the need to find a home for an event that is part of the seven-tournament Women's Series.
    Nevertheless it has gnawed at Clark, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the PBA, since the decision was made.
    Without solicitation, he called Tuesday simply to express his feelings.
    And, boy, are they deep-rooted.
    For starters, the PBA wouldn't be in Medford were it not for Holman, and Clark is convinced his life would be completely different sans Holman's influence. Not his hobby, not his job. His life.
    "His is the only picture I have on my desk," says Clark, a former USA Today sports editor who worked for the U.S. Bowling Congress before joining the PBA in March 2008. "I don't even have my kids' pictures there. He's my hero. He's kind of my inspiration for trying to bring bowling back."
    When Clark was hired at USA Today to write about bowling, the person he called for his first story was Holman.
    When he went to work for the USBC and created his first telecast, Holman got the call to be the announcer.
    When the PBA held its 50th anniversary gala earlier this year in Las Vegas, Clark made sure Holman was seated at his table.
    Clark always thought it odd to have the name of Anthony, then the sport's winningest player, associated with Medford. A tournament in Tacoma, Wash., where Anthony lived, honored him. But when it was lopped from the schedule, Medford, the next closest venue, was so dubbed.
    Next season, Dublin, Calif., where the center Anthony owns still stands, will have a stop. It's the week after Medford's, and Anthony's name rightly is on it.
    Holman doesn't worry too much that another name change came and it's not his.
    He finds it "interesting" in that regard and was surprised to learn the doubles was headed here.
    "I'm just glad the tour is coming here, in whatever form it takes," says Holman.
    The Medford and Dublin events will have the Women's Series in common.
    The Don and Paula Carter — Clark terms it a PBA "franchise" event — was held in Reno, Nev., last year. It is one of seven women's events this coming season. Five of them will be during the five-week World Series of Bowling that starts in early August.
    In penciling in the other two, the PBA wanted live TV events in back-to-back weeks early in the second half. That left Medford, which hosted the women last season and expressed a desire to do so again, and Dublin were obvious choices.
    But the Marshall Holman Mixed Doubles doesn't quite cut it.
    "What I think it ought to be and what I wish is that it will be named after Marshall," says Clark. "No one is more synonymous with a town in the history of bowling than Marshall is with Medford. He put it on the map. He's kind of like Mickey Mantle, the 'Commerce Comet.' No one would know where Commerce, Okla., is if it wasn't for Mickey Mantle."
    Clark was 12 when Holman was in his heyday. Week after week, Clark scurried to the TV and sat mesmerized as Holman, who was as much a fixture as the soap operas, unfurled his slight frame with such force as to rifle the ball down the lanes and explode the pins.
    "He kept me coming back," says Clark. "He kept me in bowling. I went to college and picked a school because it had a bowling team. I know it gets cheesy almost. I try to explain to people the importance of icons in sports."
    It goes deeper. In college, he met his wife and they have the aforementioned kids. None of it would have happened like it did were it not for Holman, says Clark.
    And it's not a complaint.
    "That's how important it is to have people who rise above their own sport," he says.
    Chris Barnes, Wes Malott and Jason Belmonte are the stars of today. They are nice people who are very good at what they do and have legions of children who want to be like them.
    To this day, says Clark, they are not as famous as Holman and Mark Roth, the iconic bowlers in the sport's golden era.
    So what's the likelihood the Medford event will be named for Holman?
    The 2010 tournament completes a two-year contract, but there's an option for a third year. If it gets picked up and the doubles move again, will it be Holman's turn?
    If Clark has his say, you can bet on it.
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail ttrower@mailtribune.com
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