Retired PBA National Tournament Director, Kirk Von Krueger and wife Mary Von Krueger, Retired Regional Tournament Director, Gary Mage Inducted in 2021
New York, NY – The PBA Hall of Fame will have three new members this year – and for the first time in the history of the sport, a married couple has been elected together.
The PBA Hall of Fame committee unanimously elected Kirk and Mary von Krueger and Gary Mage for meritorious service.
Together, the von Kruegers served in vital tournament management roles for the PBA’s national tour and Mage served as a Regional Director, amongst other roles in the industry for over 40 years.
“On behalf of the PBA Hall of Fame committee, it is a tremendous opportunity to recognize the efforts of these three icons, who built and sustained the PBA through different eras of growth,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “Gary, Kirk and Mary were an essential part of the organization up until their retirements last year, and everyone who has come in contact with them knows the PBA would not be the same without their contributions.”
Kirk von Krueger, who joined the PBA as a regional competitor in 1982, became the fourth national tournament director in PBA history in 1996. He succeeded Johnny Campos and continued in that role until his retirement 24 years later. Only the late Harry Golden, who served as national tournament director for 29 years, held the position longer. Von Krueger also held the position of Deputy Commissioner from 2011 until his retirement in 2020.
“My sincerest thanks to those who encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a professional bowler,” said Kirk von Krueger. At that time, I had no idea it would open a door that would allow me to experience the most fulfilling and extraordinary 25 years of my life. To all who shared my journey, I say without hesitation that it truly would not have been possible without each and every one of you. I am humbled and honored to share this with you all. Thank you.”
Mary von Krueger, who served alongside her husband as his clerical right hand, became Membership and Statistics Manager.
“The PBA was and still is my heart,” said Mary von Krueger. “The incredible staff, fierce competitors, the gracious hosts, and the exuberant volunteers and fans made my tenure a dream come true. It is incredibly humbling and overwhelming to know that my heart forever more will have a home among my heroes.”
The couple met when both were serving in the U.S. Navy as air traffic controllers. Von Krueger won the All-Navy Bowling Championship in 1975, and when he was based in Seattle, became a PBA Northwest Region competitor. He won six titles and was named Northwest Region Player of the Year in the 1980’s. The couple, who married without ever going on a date, also served tours in Iceland and Pensacola, Fla., where they eventually settled and raised their four children.
After 20 years of service in the Navy, von Kruger retired and bowled on the PBA Tour for four years with a best finish of third. Von Krueger was encouraged by his wife to compete on the Tour in 1992.
“It was a great luxury having Kirk as deputy commissioner and tournament director, and Mary in the tournament office helping the players year-round,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “The von Kruegers became family to me and everyone on Tour. It was an honor working alongside them for 12 years and I appreciate everything they have done for the PBA.”
In addition to the von Kruegers, the PBA Hall of Fame committee also unanimously elected Gary Mage into the Class of 2021. Mage, who founded the PBA Northwest region in 1979 and added the role of PBA West Regional Director in 2004, served the PBA for over 40 years.
Mage, who similarly retired in 2020, hosted more tournaments than any other regional director in the history of the PBA with his wife Toni by his side, every step of the way.
“Gary and Toni treated all PBA players and host bowling center’s staff as family,” added Clark. “Gary was not only a skilled tournament director, but he was respected by the industry as a whole for his experience in all aspects of bowling. Myself and I PBA Hall of Fame are thankful for his lifelong contributions to the game.”
Mage joined the PBA in the 1970s and began his career as a full-time touring pro. In 1972, he won a PBA Tour national title at the Seattle Open.
Off the lanes, Mage served on the PBA executive board, was a bowling center proprietor, pro-shop owner, and a mentor to many.
“To be inducted in the PBA Hall of Fame is the greatest honor I could ever receive in the bowling world,” said Gary Mage. To have my name with the greats both bowling and promoting the sport is an honor beyond my wildest dreams.”
The PBA recognized the 2020 PBA Player of the Year, Jason Belmonte of Australia, PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Brad Miller of Lee’s Sumitt, Mo., and PBA Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award recipient Danny Wiseman late last year.
The Player Award winners and the newest members of the PBA Hall of Fame will be celebrated at an induction ceremony to be announced at a later date due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2020, the PBA launched PBA Jr., a club for elite youth bowlers under the age of 17 and the PBA Pinsiders, a membership for fans of the sport. For more information, please visit PBA.com.