Tiger Wheelchair Basketball

By Lykins, Ron | Palaestra, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Tiger Wheelchair Basketball


Lykins, Ron, Palaestra


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The origins of the University of Missouri's Wheelchair Basketball Team date back to the late 1990's when then State Representative Chuck Graham, who was chairman of the budget appropriations committee, lobbied the Missouri legislature to begin funding for a collegiate wheelchair basketball team at MU. By 2001, the funding was established and in 2003 Rep. Graham and Vice Chancellor Ricky Wallace approached Diane Dahlmann, Director of Recreational Services & Facilities at Mizzou, regarding the creation of the team. Dahlmann accepted and the department then conducted a nationwide search to find a coach. Steve Paxton was subsequently hired in March. 2004, as the first Head Coach of Missouri Tiger 'Wheelchair Basketball.

In a year and a half, Paxton built the foundation for the program and was able to recruit enough players to field a squad. In the Team's inaugural season of 2005-2006, the roster was comprised of 5 student-athletes, and they finished with an overall season record of 6-27. Garrett French. John Gilbert. Steve Hathaway, Tom Knaus, and James Senbeta forged the path for wheelchair basketball at the University of Missouri.

The 2006-07 Season saw 5 additional players join the Tiger line-up, providing the Team with depth. The Team finished the second season with an overall record of 8-24 Mizzou's record improved to 11-30 during the 2007-08 season. For the 2008-2009 campaign, the Team recorded its most victories in a single season to date with 25 wins. It was in February of 2009 when Ron Lykins took over as head coach of the Team. The Team then won its first-ever tournament, the Madonna Magic (NE) Invitational.

The 2009-10 season was the most successful season in the five-year history of the program. The Team s record of 23-17 marked the first time the team has finished a season over .500. Twenty-three wins comprise the second-most victories for a season in program history. This was the second time the team won 20 or more games in a season. This Team went an impressive 20-1 in non-conference games. Mizzou won the Gorilla Invitational Tournament at Pittsburgh State University in December. The Team also captured the title at the Tiger Wheelchair Basketball Classic in March. This was the first time the Team had won its own tournament. The three wins Mizzou posted in conference play marked their highest win total to date. The Team finished seventh at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.

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Awards and Honors

The Tigers earned individual awards for their play during Intercollegiate Division play. John Gilbert made the All-American Team for the fifth consecutive year. In 2008 and 09. Gilbert received the Frank M. Brasile Sportsmanship award. Justin Siebert was named an Academic All-American for the third time in his career. Bobby Voss was an Academic All-American in 2008. Andrew Tucker received honorable mention Academic All-American honors in 2009 and was nominated in 2008. Steve Hathaway was nominated for Academic All-American in 2006. …

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