Team USA assistant coach O'Keefe earns Gold status Terry Bigham May 13, 2014 ARLINGTON, Texas - Bryan O'Keefe, a Team USA assistant coach since 2010, recently was awarded Gold-level coach status by the United States Bowling Congress Coaching Certification and Development department.O'Keefe, 39, is the Facility Manager of the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, where he teaches bowlers and supervises the ITRC pro shop in addition to working with Team USA and Junior Team USA players."Any time you are recognized as reaching the pinnacle of anything, it is a pretty good feeling," O'Keefe said. "I have learned so much in the last seven to eight years and will continue to learn for years to come. One of the many great things about our sport is you never know everything, and that helps drive me to get even better as a coach, with the end goal always being making the players better."USBC Gold is the highest level of certification a bowling coach can achieve, similar to obtaining a doctorate in a field of study. Candidates for Gold certification must demonstrate knowledge of the latest techniques and information through practical application and discussion. The final review program requires a coach to conduct a class, participate in an oral exam and give lessons to bowlers of various skill levels, which includes lesson plans and a ball-motion study. The final review board consists of active USBC Gold coaches and USBC staff.O'Keefe, who started bowling when he was 9 and began coaching in junior high school, becomes one of 26 active Gold coaches in the world. He will receive the Fred Borden USBC Gold Coach Award for earning Gold status.O'Keefe bowled collegiately at Nebraska, helping the Cornhuskers win a national title in 1996, while earning first-team All-America honors. He lists winning the national title and the World Team Challenge Grand Championships as his biggest highlights as a player, saying "both of those involved teammates to be able to share the experience with, which seems to make them extra special."The Junior Team USA girls team, which captured the team event gold medal in Bangkok, Thailand in 2012, gave him his top highlight, so far, as a coach."That was the first World Championship team I had the opportunity to coach," O'Keefe said. "To see them reach their goal as a team, representing their country, is something I will never forget."While O'Keefe said his early coaching influences came from his personal coach and collegiate coach, Chuck Hannon and Bill Straub, respectively, working at the ITRC has provided him the opportunity to continue to develop his coaching skills."Getting to work with (Team USA head coach) Rod Ross and (assistant coach) Kim Terrell-Kearney on a day-to-day basis at the ITRC obviously has had a tremendous amount of influence," O'Keefe said. "Our dynamic within the ITRC is pretty special, and we learn from each other every day."