PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — After leading the team to four Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances in eight seasons at the helm of the bowling program, University of Maryland Eastern Shore head coach Kayla Bandy will step down to focus on a new business outside of coaching.
Bandy's teams have sported an impressive .686 win percentage over her career and the Hawks had the top win percentage in the country (.743) when the 2019-20 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. She won four MEAC Coach of the Year honors and coached 11 All-Americans, three MEAC Bowlers of the Year, three Rookies of the Year and 15 All-MEAC performers.
"We appreciate the contribution that coach Bandy has made to the Hawks bowling program and wish her the best of luck as she moves on to a different chapter of her life," Hawk Athletic Director Keith Davidson said. "She has been a wonderful steward for the program and the unselfishness of making this decision now, leaves us in the best position to find the right successor."
Thanks to the timing of Bandy's decision, that search will begin immediately.
Bandy said that she entered this athletic year excited about the status of the program and its potential after seeing last year's promising season derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic before the MEAC Championship could even be contested.
"I was starting to realize that I wouldn't be signing a new contract in July because I was starting a new business," Bandy said. "As we started the season, I knew the team is in a really great place as far as the student athletes we have, the talent we have and I knew that we had a really good shot to win the National Championship. It would have been awesome to head out on that note."
But on Nov. 16, under an abundance of caution, the University made the difficult decision to opt out of competition this athletic year because of all the dangers and unknowns surrounding the continuing pandemic.
"It wasn't fair to the student athletes — or to all the hard work that I put in to build the program — for me to wait until July to resign and then put it on the athletic department to try and hire somebody quickly," Bandy said. "That was not going to be an ideal situation, so I decided it was time to tell Mr. Davidson — in the best interest of the program — to go ahead and use this time to transition the program in a healthy way to new leadership."
Bandy will miss her team and miss coaching, but welcomes the opportunity to be able to focus on something new. She describes Bandy Lane as a program to help student athletes transition into collegiate bowling. That includes everything from how to choose the right school and what to prepare for academically to how to get their game ready for the transition.
"I'm super excited about the future," Bandy said. "In order to operate the business — Bandy Lane — with integrity, I need to step away from a specific college bowling program. I love my student athletes and serving them has been wonderful throughout the years. I realized that at this stage of my career — if you look at my resume in its entirety — what I need to be doing and what I am most passionate about is focusing on student athletes and higher education. That is why I decided to create this business."
The Hawks bowling program has had just three coaches during the NCAA Bowling era. Sharron Brummell left the program part-way through the 2011-12 season. She led the team to two NCAA Championships and a United States Bowling Congress Championship over 14 seasons. Kristina Frahm — a former Hawk bowler under Brummell — finished the 2011-12 season with an NCAA Championship, then won the program's second USBC title in 2013 before leaving the program, which led to Bandy's hiring.
"Athletically speaking, we did a lot of great things in the last eight years," Bandy said. "We won MEAC Championships and made it to several Final Fours at the NCAA Championship. That was an awesome experience and we worked really hard for those things. It's nice to see your hard work paying off. I wanted to protect the program and what we have built. In order for that to continue, I have to step away at this time."
~Maryland Eastern Shore Sports Information