Date Name
2017 Matt Sanders
2016 Francois
2015 Jesper Svensson
2014 Marshall Kent
2013 EJ Tackett
2012 Josh Blanchard
2011 Scott Norton
2010 Anthony LaCaze
2009 Jason Belmonte
2008 Rhino Page
2007 Billy Oatman
2006 Bill O'Neill
2005 Not awarded
2004 Chris Johnson
2003 Brad Angelo
2002 * Tommy Jones
2000 Joe Ciccone
1999 Paul Fleming
1998 Chris Barnes
1997 Anthony Lombardo
1996 C.K. Moore
1995 Billy Myers Jr.
1994 Tony Ament Jr.
1993 Mark Scroggins
1992 Jason Couch
1991 Ricky Ward
1990 Brad Kiszewski
1989 Steve Hoskins
1988 Rick Steelsmith
1987 Ryan Shafer
1986 Marc McDowell
1985 Tom Crites
1984 John Gant
1983 Toby Contreras
1982 Mike Steinbach
1981 Mark Fahy
1980 Pete Weber
1979 Mike Aulby
1978 Joseph Groskind
1977 Steve Martin
1976 Mike Berlin
1975 Guy Rowbury
1974 Cliff McNealy
1973 Steve Neff
1972 Tommy Hudson
1971 Tye Critchlow
1970 Denny Krick
1969 Larry Lichstein
1968 Bob McGregor
1967 Mike Durbin
1966 Bobby Cooper
1965 Jim Godman
1964 Jerry McCoy


Matt Sanders

Sanders, a 23-year-old left-hander and former two-time All-American with Marion University-Indiana, was the overwhelming choice over one of the strongest fields of rookies in recent PBA history.

He was the only rookie to win a PBA Tour title (in the Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes in Memphis, Tenn., in June). Sanders qualified ninth for the match play elimination finals of the “throwback” plastic ball tournament, eventually defeating PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair, 243-237, for the title.

He concluded his first season with a fifth-place finish in the PBA World Championship, losing a 10-7 sudden-death roll-off to Kyle Troup after they tied at 248-248 in the opening match of the World Championship finals.

“It’s an honor just to be in the conversation with the bowlers who compete on tour,” Sanders said. “I go into each tournament believing I can win. Sometimes, maybe I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best I can be. I feel that when I’m at my best I can compete with anyone. I just need to relax and do what I do best and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”

Among PBA rookies in 2017, he was the average (215.84) and earnings ($30,965) leader.

*The 2002 awards where based on the 2001-02 season, marking a transition from calendar-year to seasonal.