Bowling community reflects on Don Carter’s passing

Chuck Pezzano, USBC and PBA Hall of Fame bowling writer
To me he was always the greatest bowler that ever lived. He set out to conquer the game and to conquer his opponents, and he did an amazing job of that. He also really put bowling in the upper echelon; many of his friends were not just top bowlers, they were top athletes in other sports.

Few people recall that Don Carter was the first athlete to sign a million-dollar contract; he signed a million-dollar contract with Ebonite. He also was one of the most generous people; he and his wife Paula helped many children of drug addicts by loaning them housing, helping with their expenses and their education. They did this without any fanfare. Anything worthwhile, Don was there.

Carmen Salvino, PBA and USBC Hall of Famer
Don was one of the main reasons that bowling started to become popular and gain TV ratings when I was coming up. He opened the door for a lot of us, including myself, and today’s bowlers should be very grateful for his contributions to the sport.

Off the lanes he also had an aura about him; people always liked to be around Don Carter. And a lot of people don’t know about the charitable things he did behind the scenes because he wasn’t the kind of guy to brag about what he did. The man did a lot of charitable things anonymously; Don was a very generous man.

Bill Lillard, USBC Hall of Famer
Carter and (Dick) Weber were a lot alike in that they knew they were going to win. They didn’t always win, but they knew they had the opportunity and the ability to win. He may have been a slow starter in a 100-game tournament, but he wound up grinding, and usually found his way to the top. He was just the man.

Glen Allison, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer
He was the greatest in that 100-game grind at the All Star. For that period of time at the World’s Invitational and the All Star he was practically unbeatable. But he also was a wonderful human being, a good friend, and just a great guy.

Marshall Holman, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer
In my opinion Earl Anthony, Dick Weber and Don Carter are the three iconic people in the history of our game, and you can flip that order any way you want it. Don was that good. Back when he was in his prime, he was the rock star of bowling. He was hanging out with the Mickey Mantles and stars of that caliber. He was a larger-than-life figure.

Johnny Petraglia, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer
I have often said that what made me come a pro bowler was when I was 13 years old and I went to Madison Square Garden to watch Dick Weber and Don Carter do an exhibition. From that day on, I wanted to be like them, I wanted to be a pro bowler. And through the years Carter has always been such high class. He was really a great guy who never lost his temper or treated you any differently than anybody else. Just 100% class.

Barry Asher, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer
When you’re my age and you grew up wanting to be a bowler, the man you recognized the most was Don Carter. The reason I signed with Ebonite when I was on tour was because of him. There has only been one rock star in bowling, and that was Don Carter.

Judy Soutar, USBC Hall of Famer
I got to be around Don a lot when I was just out of my teens and bowling the ladies’ tour, and I was in awe of him because he was just so fantastic and such a wonderful man. He just reached out to me and made me feel very comfortable as a young lady bowling the tour.

Larry Lichstein, PBA Hall of Famer
I just can’t begin to tell you the influence Don had on me as a young man. I became entranced by bowling while watching the Championship Bowling TV programs as a kid, and the more I watched the more I realized that Don Carter was the greatest bowler in the world. This was the most influential man in the history of our sport. Back in the 1950s, the combination of the advent of the pinsetter, television, and Don Carter brought the sport of bowling into the modern era.

Len Nicholson, PBA Hall of Famer
I briefly met Don Carter in 1963 at a PBA tournament in Las Vegas.  I took my vacation the following year and went there again. While waiting in line to check-in, we both made eye contact and he immediately said; "Hi, Len."  I was overwhelmed with the class that he showed.

He was a legend in his own time and put bowling on the map.  He did everything first class and will be missed tremendously, but never forgotten. God Bless Don Carter.

John Davis, Founder and CEO of the Kegel Company
I remember watching him bowl on Championship Bowling when I was a young child of about 9 or 10. I, too, had a crooked arm and wanted to bowl like him.  I never could.  He was a God to me.  Then I tried to bowl like Dick Weber. They were both my idols.  If it wasn't for them, I would never gotten into bowling. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.