Prior to the Billiard Education Foundation being formed, junior billiard programs were created and produced by the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) to aid in the promotion of the sport, beginning with the Junior National 9-Ball Championships, begun in the late 80s.
By 1994, this segment of the sport had expanded faster than expected and at the suggestion of Jerry Briesath, Mark Cord, and Shari Stauch, the BEF was formed as a 501(c)(3) foundation, with two principle goals in mind — A) to continue Junior National competitions that adhered to WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association) standards that would allow American winners to compete in world junior events and B) to establish scholarships for junior participants, both through competition and through academic prowess.
With the BCA continuing to be the BEF’s administrator, this upward climb continued for many years until the BCA decided that setting the junior organization apart from the BCA would be a benefit to the enhancement of junior billiards.
In 2007 the BCA separated from the BEF and transferred the oversight and management of its junior programs to the BEF Board of Trustees under leadership of tireless junior billiards advocate Tom Riccobene. Tom and the trustees named WPBA pro player Laura Smith as Executive Director of the organization, assisted by WPBA pro player Dawn Hopkins. Under their leadership programs grew to include Education in Schools initiatives, junior qualifiers and more.
In 2012, founding BEF president Shari Stauch was elected to return as Board of Trustees president and in mid-2012, Samm Diep-Vidal was hired as the Executive Director by the BEF Board of Trustees. Under the direction of the BEF Board, the foundation continues to manage the Junior National 9-Ball Championships and its qualifiers, award annual educational scholarships, and work to place its billiard curriculum in schools throughout the U.S.