Purple Eagles Squad to be led by former Medaille University coaches Jeff Walsh and Peggy Kuhn
Niagara University’s department of athletics has added women’s bowling to its roster of Division I sports, bringing the total number of Purple Eagles teams to 19. Head coach Jeff Walsh and assistant coach Peggy Kuhn will join Niagara from Medaille University, as will a number of the keglers from the Mavericks’ program.
“As a university, Niagara has been working closely with the administration at Medaille University to support their students, and through that work, we are extremely proud to welcome Jeff and Peggy, and the Mavericks student-athlete bowlers into the Purple Eagles family,” said Simon Gray, associate vice president for athletics at Niagara University. “While Medaille was traditionally a Division III school, its bowling program competed with Division I powerhouses, and we look forward to continuing that tradition of success with our bowling program.”
Jeff Walsh has been a part of the Western New York bowling circuit and national bowling industry for nearly 30 years, including the past six seasons with Medaille as an assistant and head coach. The Mavericks’ bowling program has seen unprecedented success since Walsh joined the coaching staff in 2016-17, winning the 2019 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) regular season title, six straight AMCC Tournament Championships and finishing the last two of the last three seasons with a top 15 national ranking for the first time in program history.
“We are very excited to join the Purple Eagles and launch the women’s bowling program at Niagara,” said Jeff Walsh. “While the closing of Medaille has been disruptive to our student-athletes, everyone at Niagara, especially Simon Gray and Susan Petronsky (deputy director of athletics), has been extremely helpful to our athletes and has made this transition very easy for all of us. We look forward to being a part of the Purple Eagles, and competing at the highest levels of competition for years to come.”
In 2018, Walsh helped guide the Mavs to one of the most historic seasons of any team in Medaille history, earning the AMCC's first ever automatic bid to the NCAA Championships and becoming just the third Division III program to ever accomplish such a feat. In 2021, he would help the Mavs find their way back to the NCAA Tournament and defeat the eventual National Champions, the University of Nebraska in the opening round. This past season, the Mavericks finished with a 88-34 record, and again qualified for an NCAA appearance. In total, Walsh’s Mavericks have made four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Peggy Kuhn also brings tremendous experience to Niagara University in her role as assistant coach. She has more than 40 years of competitive bowling at multiple levels, and is a four-time Greater Buffalo USBC Bowler of the Year (1987, 1990, 1994, 2000). She has coached at Daemen College and Erie Community College, and she is a member of the Greater Buffalo USBC Hall of Fame, Erie Community College Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Both Jeff Walsh and Peggy Kuhn were inducted into the Tonawanda Bowling Hall of Fame in November of 2022.
Classic Lanes in Kenmore, N.Y., will serve as the home facility for competition and practices for the Purple Eagles.