Garth Ridge has been named head coach of the St. Joseph’s Academy bowling team. He takes over the program from Shelly O’Dowd, who has served as head coach since 2014 and who will continue to work with the team as its faculty moderator.
Ridge has coached in the youth bowling program at All Star Lanes since 2014. He served as an assistant bowling coach at Catholic High School from 2010 to 2017 and as head coach of the Louisiana State University Bowling Club in 2011-2012.
“We are excited to have Coach Garth join the SJA Athletic Department,” said Athletic Director Erin Hart. “He is a lifelong student of the sport of bowling, and we look forward to the vast experience as well as technical expertise that his addition will add to our program.”
Ridge said he cannot remember a time when he did not enjoy the sport of bowling and all of its challenges. “I’m from upstate New York, which has a strong bowling tradition, and I was captain of my high school bowling team,” he said. “After a very long pause in my bowling, my son, Owen Collier-Ridge, joined the bowling team at Catholic High as a freshman. After watching with all of the other parents for a couple years, I believed if I learned how to coach bowling, I might be able to help the team.”
To enhance his abilities, Ridge joined the coaching program at the United State Bowling Congress (USBC), the national governing body for the sport. He obtained Level One, then Bronze coaching credentials, the latter of which was taught by Bryan O’Keefe, the head coach of Team USA. He has also been mentored by two-time national coach of the year USBC Gold coach Susie Minshew. In 2018, he became a USBC Silver coach.
“Since then, I have continued my education by attending every program offered to date in the Kegel Coaching Master’s Programs at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Florida,” Ridge said. “I also attended the World Bowling Coaching Conference in 2018 along with a clinic by Dr. Dean Hinitz, who is the sports psychologist for Team USA. I continue to strive to learn more about both coaching in general and bowling specifically with an eye to how this can help the bowlers with whom I work.”
Ridge is looking forward to working with SJA’s bowlers and building on the success they enjoyed under Coach O’Dowd. “I will strive to have a positive impact on our athletes, which is consistent with the mission of St. Joseph’s Academy and the athletic department,” he said. “I also want to help each team member know they are important and that anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
O’Dowd is stepping aside because of family obligations but said she is excited to welcome Ridge as the new head coach. “I had the pleasure of meeting Garth when I first started coaching and was very appreciative of his willingness to assist with any questions I had as a new coach in the sport,” O’Dowd said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge from his advanced coaching training and previous coaching experiences that will help improve the team’s skill set and consistency. I look forward to working with him.”
Ridge has a bachelor of science in finance from LSU, a master of sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami and a juris doctor degree from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt