Kenneth Duke was enshrined into the Greater Buffalo United States Bowling Congress Association's Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service, Nov. 26, at Samuel's Grande Manor along with 11 other inductees in four categories.
Erie Community College's administrative bowling coach for more than a decade has a storied career that goes beyond his local, regional and national contributions to ECC. The honor adds to his accolades at ECC that includes being a member of its Athletics Wall of Fame and as a Distinguished Alumni recipient. He is also enshrined in National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Bowling Coaches Hall of Fame after being a four-time NJCAA Coach-of-the-Year.
Duke bowled for the Kats as a student-athlete and helped ECC to a NJCAA National Championship back in the late 70s, but that was only the start of his involvement with the college.
Prior to his current administrative role, Duke coached both Kat men's and women's bowling teams to national titles, while helping almost two dozen Kats attain all-American honors. He currently also instructs a bowling course as an adjunct professor, which has become one of the most popular classes offered by the college in both the fall and spring semesters.
ECC bowling founder Kerm Helmer called upon Duke to take the reins of the women's bowling program in the 90s and Duke didn't disappoint. In addition to claiming a national women's title in 1996 with the best women's team in NJCAA history, one of the bowlers from that team – Janette Piesczynski – was also enshrined along with Duke in the GBUSBCA's Class of 2016 for outstanding ability.
When Helmer died in 2002, Duke was one of those who stepped in to keep ECC in the forefront of the sport on the collegiate front. A youth director on the GBUSBC Board of Directors, there's hardly a collegiate or youth bowling event that Duke does not have a hand in.
Other venues where Duke has pitched in include: NJCAA representative for the USBC Collegiate Committee, NJCAA national tournament director, Buffalo Bowling Association and GBUSBC boards, and the Special Olympics. In the latter field, he was honored as the Special Olympics New York Volunteer of the Year and has been involved with that cause both at the local, state and international levels for more than three decades.
Currently, Duke also remains active as a youth and high school bowling coach and has a lifetime high average of 219 (four times) along with a high game of 300 and high series of 833.
In addition to Piesczynski, 10 others joined Duke in the GBUSBC's Class of 2016 that include: Dewella Dobson, Theodore Czajka, Linda Bardol, John Meczynski, Kathleen McDonald, Beth O'Brien, Patrick Brick, Michael Zarcone, Michelle Sterner and Gregory Merkle.