ARLINGTON, Texas – The Team USA staff is adding Katie Thornton of Savannah, Georgia, as an assistant coach to the program.
Thornton, the head coach of the men’s and women’s bowling teams at the Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah, will join the Team USA staff during this week’s Junior Team USA training camp at the International Training and Research Center.
“I am beyond excited to have the privilege to be a part of the Team USA program,” Thornton said. “I am truly thankful to Bryan (O’Keefe), Kelly (Kulick) as well as all those involved for providing me with the opportunity. For many years, it was a dream of mine to be involved with Team USA, and it seems surreal for it to become a reality. It would not be possible without the incredible coaching mentors I have had over the years. I am thoroughly looking forward to getting to work with the fellow coaches and incredible athletes within the program.”
Thornton, a USBC Silver coach, has built the SCAD-Savannah program from the ground up, starting in 2015. The program’s first year on the lanes was during the 2016-2017 season, with the women’s team advancing to the Intercollegiate Team Championships.
In 2018, she was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Coach of the Year (men), and she followed in 2019 by helping lead both programs to national titles at the NAIA Bowling Invitational Championship.
She again was named NAIA Coach of the Year (men) for the 2022 season and helped the women’s program to a second NAIA Bowling Invitational Championship.
Thornton became the first woman to win the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Gordon Vadakin Coach of the Year Award in 2022, which is presented to the top men’s coach by the NCBCA.
Two of her student-athletes at SCAD-Savannah recently represented Junior Team USA at the 2022 International Bowling Federation U21 World Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden – Tyrell Ingalls of Loganville, Georgia, and Julian Salinas of Richmond, Texas.
Ingalls and Salinas helped Junior Team USA earn the silver medal in team competition during the event.
“Katie will be a great fit for our coaching staff,” Team USA head coach Bryan O’Keefe said. “The program she’s built at SCAD-Savannah is one of the best in the country, and the Junior Team USA program has welcomed several of her student-athletes through the program based on the success they’ve had at events like the Junior Gold Championships and Team USA Trials. We’re thrilled to be able to add her to the program.”
On the lanes, Thornton was a collegiate standout at Webber International, helping the Warriors claim a pair of Intercollegiate Team Championships (2010 and 2012) and the 2013 NAIA Bowling Invitational Championship.
She was a two-time NCBCA All-America team member (2011-2012 honorable mention, 2012-2013 first team) and was named the NAIA Player of the Year during the 2012-2013 season.
“I am excited to have Katie Thornton join the Team USA coaching staff,” Team USA High Performance Program Director Kendra Cameron-Curry said. “Katie is an enthusiastic coach that brings loads of experience, from her accolades at SCAD-Savannah and as a collegiate champion as an athlete. Performing at a high level as an athlete gives a coach added insight into what players go through while competing, and Katie is a great addition to our staff.”
For more information on Team USA, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA.