Chris Dowling ’67 considered himself a “late bloomer” in high school. Not only was he in the shadow of his legendary athlete/scholar brothers Pat and Brian, he was also smaller in stature. Cut from the freshman basketball team, Chris stormed back to prove himself as a junior and senior starter on John Wirtz’s championship team. In his senior year, he averaged 19.8 points per game, helping win the opening round of the state tournament against Padua by scoring a legendary 41 points. Chris was an All West Senate, All Scholastic and #3rd Team All District pick his senior year. He was a 3-year member of the track team, setting the high jump record at 6’3” and was a #1 player on the tennis team.
“I just loved playing sports,” recalls Chris. “Whatever the season, with five boys in the family, we always had somebody to play with – and a vacant lot across the street.” Chris describes a happy childhood in Cleveland Heights, attending Saint Ann’s grade school. Though he was never a straight A student, his academic skills improved in the rigorous classes at Saint Ignatius – including tough grammar rules from Fr. Jim Lewis, SJ, that he still pulls out to use on his own adult children.
Chris’s father Emmett was Catholic, and his mother Eileen was Mormon. “We went to Mass at 8 a.m. and Sunday school at 10:30,” says Chris with a smile. But just before his senior year, Chris was hit hard by the loss of his father and mentor, who died of leukemia at age 49. His mother remained his faithful supporter and huge fan of Saint Ignatius sports. “You could always find her in the stands,” says Chris. “I owe my basketball college scholarship to my mom. Unbeknownst to me, after every game, she would cut out the newspaper clippings and send them to the coach at Brigham Young University - where I ended up accepting a scholarship to play basketball.”
Chris graduated from BYU, fell in love with the West and with Sheryl Holmes of Idaho. They married in 1971 and shared a magical year in Switzerland where Chris was recruited to play basketball for Urania Geneve Sport – and was their leading scorer. They returned to Utah and started a family. With their entrepreneurial spirit, Sheryl opened “The Dance Club” in 1978, now rated among the nation’s top ten dance studios. Chris founded a medical equipment company, Orthopedic Services of Utah, and has run the business for the past 30 years.
“I feel honored and humbled to have my name added to the many great athletes at Saint Ignatius,” says Chris.” I was so proud to put on my blue and gold uniform, no matter the sport. I always had the greatest desire to win, not for me, but for my alma mater.”
Chris and Sheryl live near Salt Lake City, are very involved in Mormon church service and their community. They have three children (Christopher, Jocelyn and Jaclyn) and seven grandchildren.
Chris will be honored along with fellow inductees Dean Lamirand '93 and Greg Moviel '03 at Wildcats Roar and Athletic Hall of Fame Induction on August 18, 2018.