Don Gates joins a long list of outstanding Syracuse bowlers. Gates began bowling when he was a pin boy at Recreation Lanes. During the 1954-55 season, his team won the pin boy league and captured the all-event handicap title at Jefferson Lanes. But his bowling success began in earnest in 1963 when he won the city tournament doubles title with Paul Stein.
Over the years, Gates won Syracuse Bowls King of the Hill honors numerous times and the Van Wie Doubles title twice. He captured the Herald Masters title in 1971 and again in 1979. In 1974 and 1982, he won the city tournament all-events title and was part of the New York State Championship team in 1980. He individually won two New York State Championships.
At three Empire State Games (1986, 1988 and 1989), Gates won gold medals in all five events - the only bowler to ever accomplish that feat. A tireless booster of the sport, Gates and his wife, Frieda, set another record in 2000 as they combined for a mixed double score of 1,605 in Ocala, Florida, the second-highest score ever in the U.S. His three-game total was 845 and Frieda rolled a 760. A member of numerous halls of fame, Gates has 20 perfect games and has a lifetime average of more than 200. Gates, a former Syracuse Bowling Association president, also served on the Board of Directors of the Bowling Writers Association and published the popular “World of Ten Pins”, a Syracuse bowling newspaper.
Don and Frieda Gates are the first husband and wife team to be inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. Frieda was inducted in 2001.
1995: I nducted into the Syracuse Bowling Hall of Fame
1999: Received the Mort Luby Sr. Hall of Fame award from the Bowling Writers Association of America
2000: Inducted into State Bowling Hall of Fame