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Ottumwa girls bowling wins 7th state title behind winningest coach in Iowa history

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 9:42 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - On Tuesday, the Ottumwa girls bowling team won the 2021 state championship, giving the program seven state titles since the turn of the century. That’s the most of any program in the history of the state. But what’s interesting about the Bulldog program, is each championship has come under the direction of the same head coach.

Inside Champion Bowl in Ottumwa lives the all-time winningest high school program in Iowa girls bowling. On Tuesday, the team became back-to-back champions, winning its seventh state championship. It’s an unprecedented total for Doug Techel, the man who has been the head coach for every single one of those titles.

“Each team is unique in its own way. This team was very, very talented. But, sometimes we didn’t show it,” said Techel.

Doug Techel got into bowling when he was just five-years-old. His love for the sport led him to purchase the Champion Bowl building in 1998. When he became the head coach of the newly formed Bulldogs program in 2000, he got right to work on building a powerhouse in one of the most unique sports in America.

“For most people, for most kids, your football career is over with when you’re done with high school. But with bowling, you don’t have to be tall, or fast, or strong. You just have to have the willingness to practice and to get better,” Techel explained.

Now, the inside of Ottumwa’s home venue, Champion Bowl, is littered with state and regional banners. The far wall is also filled with the names of all the girls who have who made it to states. This year, it was Zoe Siemens, Brooklyn and Liberty Welch, Olivia Pilcher, McKenzie Fisher, and Randi O’Leary who got to etch their names in a long list of Bulldog history.

“Doug, he’s been there for all of us. And he’s the reason that I’m the bowler that I am. So, it’s really just, I owe it all to him,” said Randi O’Leary, a senior bowler.

But Coach Techel says he doesn’t want any praise. He says it’s about the girls, their families, and the community who support the program year in and year out. And after 21 years of coaching, Techel says it’s his team that keeps him coming back.

“We’re not getting any younger. None of us are. And I keep thinking that maybe this year, it might be time to be done. But then you see the girls coming up as freshman and they want to be able to keep adding to the legacy. And I still want to be apart of that,” Techel finished.

Louisa-Muscatine has the 2nd-winningest program of all time. The Falcons won their 6th title in Class 1A on Tuesday.