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Bowling News USA - February 17, 2012 Jason Couch, Gene Stus Elected to PBA Hall of Fame

Sixteen-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour titlist Jason Couch and 11-time PBA Senior Tour winner Gene Stus have been elected to the PBA Hall of Fame.

The 42-year-old Couch is the only player in PBA Tour history to win three consecutive Tournament of Champions titles, an event many players consider one of the most demanding to win because a player must win a PBA title to be eligible to compete.

In addition to his Tournament of Champions titles, which came in 1999, 2000 and 2002, Couch won a fourth major in the 1993 PBA Touring Players Championship.

Couch, who makes his home in Clermont, Fla., began his Tour career in 1992 and earned Rookie of the Year honors that season.

"I'm a firm believer in setting goals along the way in your career, working hard at achieving those milestones and hopefully you'll be rewarded with a great honor like being elected to the PBA Hall of Fame," Couch said. "I went out and did my best and when I achieved one milestone, continued to work hard and went on to the next one."

Couch's career path was probably a foregone conclusion as the son of parents who owned a Florida bowling center.

"Bowling on Tour has been a dream of mine since I was four years old watching PBA Tour telecasts on ABC on Saturday afternoons," said Couch. "Growing up in a bowling center certainly helped, but it took the right combination of hard work and desire."

Throughout his 20-year Tour career, Couch had a string of winning at least one title in six straight seasons (1998-2004) and won multiple titles in five seasons. Still active on Tour, he has more than $1.6 million in career earnings and was ranked 24th among PBA's 50 greatest players in history as part of the organization's 50th anniversary in 2009. He has also won 25 PBA regional titles.

As a competitive bowler for most of his adult life, the 71-year-old Gene Stus had always wondered how he might have done on the PBA Tour. But the opportunity to compete in Tour competition didn't present itself until he was able to retire from General Motors after 32 years at the age of 50 and became a regular on the Senior Tour.

Stus' 11 Senior Tour titles rank fourth on the all-time list behind fellow Hall of Famers John Handegard with 14 titles, and Gary Dickinson and Dale Eagle each with 12.

In 1992, Stus, who currently resides in Taylor, Mich., earned Senior Player of the Year honors thanks in part to winning two titles. In July of that year he became the first Senior Tour player to bowl a 300 game on national television, defeating Don Gilman, 300-188, in the Pacific Cal Bowl Senior Open in Lakewood, Calif.

"It was an honor to bowl with bowling's greats who I admired my whole life and I always wondered how I would measure up," said Stus, who had 50 top-five finishes in 173 Senior Tour events. "When I was able to retire at 50, I started to get back to bowling seriously and found I still had the touch.

"Bowling on the Senior Tour was a lot more than achieving the dream of bowling with the greats of the game," he added. "Just to be around them and to remember all the fun we had on and off the lanes for those years was an experience I'll never forget."

Couch and Stus will be inducted during ceremonies at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Saturday, April 14.


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February, 2012