The National Wheelchair Basketball Association has created an endowment fund, bearing the name of our founder and ambassador, Dr. Timothy J. Nugent, in recognition of his lifetime of service to the NWBA and to advancing the cause of wheelchair basketball in the United States and abroad.
"This was a small beginning of a great thing to be, not only much wanted, but much needed..."
The creation of the Nugent Fund will help ensure that his work will be carried on forever.
Contributors of $1,000 or more to this campaign will be recognized in a special section of the Tournament programs of all NWBA Championship competitions, and will be included in the NWBA Newsletters, as well as on the NWBA website.
To be a part of this lasting impact, please click HERE, and select the campaign:
Timothy J. Nugent Endowment Fund
Dr. Timothy J. Nugent
In 1948, World War II veterans who had sustained permanent injuries were patients in Veterans Administration Hospitals around the country looking for an outlet for their new lives in wheelchairs. The one game developed that caught on with the most enthusiasm was basketball.
At the University of Illinois, Timothy J. Nugent, then a 24-year-old doctoral student in Educational Psychology, was appointed to organize a rehabilitation-education program for disabled students; he introduced them to wheelchair basketball. Recognizing the value the sport had in their rehabilitation, he arranged outside competition for his newly formed team, the Illinois Gizz Kids. In 1949 he invited ‘home town teams’ from the Midwest to the U of I campus. Six teams accepted and competed in the 1st National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, with the Kansas City Rolling Pioneers emerging as Champions.
By 1952, there were 15 member teams. In the next decade, teams and conferences were forming all over the country. By 1962, the number of member teams had tripled. A major stimulus of the growth was a program introduced by Tim Nugent with the assistance of the US Armed Forces.
The NWBA set the standard for all organizations for the disabled. Tim Nugent had taken it to a new direction. He introduced legislation that would regulate the types of disabilities that could play against one another. He formulated plans with other sports leaders around the world to bring wheelchair sports to the international level of play. In 1960, wheelchair basketball was played at the 1st Paralympic Games in Rome, Italy.
He regarded persons with disabilities as the real experts in rehabilitation; individuals, who live, think, suffer, enjoy and experience limitations 24 hours a day.
In 1973, delegates to the 25th NWBT voted to establish a Hall of Fame to honor and recognize the achievements of those who have played or contributed to the sport of wheelchair basketball. Tim Nugent was elected a charter member of the Hall of Fame. In 1990, the James Naismith Museum and Basketball Hall of Fame admitted the NWBA as members. This was the first major sport’s Hall of Fame that recognized the accomplishments of disabled athletes in their respective sports. The influence of the NWBA's founder, Timothy J. Nugent, was paramount. His diligence in forging "solutions to the problems" is widely recognized throughout the world.
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