Cummins Joins Vandy Coaching Staff

Reigning national Player of the Year helped lead Dores to national title in spring

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — National Player of the Year Mabel Cummins has been hired as an assistant coach on Vanderbilt’s bowling staff head coach John Williamson announced Monday.

“This is a terrific win-win for us,” Williamson said. “Mabel will do some recruiting, alumni relations and player development. We are well aware that her primary goal is medical school in two years, but she also has a passion for bowling and she has a passion for Vanderbilt bowling. She’s young, she’s connected and she has a great reputation. Her former teammates look up to her. She’ll be a great resource for a couple of years.”

Cummins recently graduated after one of the most remarkable, all-around college experiences on record. She helped lead the Commodores to the 2023 NCAA Championship, represented the United States in international competition multiple years, was a six-time Dean’s List student in neuroscience and was a campus leader as president of the prestigious Honor Council.

“When you dedicate your life to doing something—which I’ve done since I was four or five years old—you can’t lose that love and passion for bowling,” Cummins said. “I’m really excited that Coach and [associate head coach] Josie [Barnes] are able to keep me on for another two years.  It’s going to be a learning curve for me and the team, but I’ll see how the other side works.”

Cummins has long been in demand with clinics and community appearances and is eager to dig into the teaching aspects of her new role.

“My favorite part has always been coaching,” she said. “I love working with people and sharing the knowledge I’ve learned since I started competing.”

Cummins will debut as a recruiter in Indianapolis this week at the Junior Gold, the nation’s largest junior tournament, where she shined for many years as a competitor.

“Of course, I have experience of having bowled Junior Gold since I was 12 but now I’m looking forward to seeing it from the perspective of a coach and recruiter,” Cummins said.

Once that tournament concludes, both Williamson and Barnes are looking forward to tapping into Cummins’ vast experience and abilities.

“I’m eager to assist with player development,” Cummins said. “There was a lot that Josie and I worked on together—especially during tournaments—to help with lane play and things like that. This will make it easier during practices to give more one-on-one attention, which will be beneficial to their development.

“I think I bring a unique perspective to recruiting,” she continued.  “I just graduated from Vanderbilt, so I have an intimate knowledge of how it works and how the girls interact. I’ll be able to say that I competed at these collegiate tournaments the previous year, and this is what I remember and can offer as opposed to someone who is just watching lane play and transition.”

Cummins’ addition gives Vanderbilt an impressive bowling staff. Williamson is a four-time national Coach of the Year, Barnes is a two-time NCAA Player of the Year, a former U.S. Open champion and multiple title winner on the Professional Women’s Bowling tour. Veteran administrator Renee Mackin will focus strictly on the bowling program as Director of Operations.

Cummins is well known for her incredible time management skills and will continue with her many academic and medical center responsibilities.  She begins classwork in her master’s of biomedical sciences graduate studies Aug. 23.

“I’ll still work as an EMT (emergency medical technician),” she explained. “Right now, I’m working a lot to get more comfortable with the medical environment because we primarily do mental and behavioral health calls, which are a little different than purely medical calls.  Driving an ambulance (which she has done) is not easy, especially in Nashville traffic.”

Cummins will also remain as the lead research assistant in a Vanderbilt Medical Center anesthesiology research lab.

One thing Cummins does not anticipate continuing is competitive bowling, saying that “isn’t in her cards right now.”