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Chris Rathje Not Seeking Re-election as Junior Division President

07/01/2019, 11:30am CDT
By Rebekah Markovitz

Chris Rathje is not seeking re-election as the Junior Division President. Rathje has decided to focus his efforts on creating new opportunities for wheelchair basketball kids. 

Rathje wrote the following letter to the NWBA community regarding this decision.

Dear NWBA Community,

Thank you for allowing me to be the first former player to serve as President of the Junior Division. After serving a one year appointed term and two elected terms on the Junior Division Executive Committee, I will not be seeking re-election as Junior Division President. 

Instead I will be focusing my efforts on forming a new committee that will center on establishing new opportunities for our kids, and bringing in hundreds of more kids and young adults into the tent of the NWBA. I was inspired to take on this project because of one of the Timothy J. Nugent Academic All American projects that was submitted this past season.  

I have reached out to Bev Vaughn the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs to see how our two organizations can work together to create new opportunities for student-athletes with physical disabilities. We plan to work together with both our organizations benefiting with the ultimate benefactors being the children and young adults we all care about so deeply.

Will Waller has asked us to take a, slow, thoughtful, approach to figure out how we can create more opportunities for our juniors population both in schools and outside of schools for students K-12. Both Bev and I are incredibly thankful to work with Mr. Waller on our ideas and we are hopeful we will serve Dr. Nugent’s legacy well.

There are many personal thank you emails and calls I need to make over the days, weeks, and months to come, but I want to thank the amazing team that has been the Junior Division Executive Committee for the last two seasons. We have had some tough times, but we have also had some great victories including a record number of prep teams (35) in 2018-19.

Thank you Mike and Diane for accepting me as a new member of the board many seasons ago. Thank you Dave, Emily, and Lisa for your new ideas, new programs, and general service to our of juniors.

Thank you to every parent, volunteer, professional, and other family member who makes it possible for our student-athletes dreams to become a reality.

Thank you Brandon, Buddy, and many others who have been the NWBA’s heart of servant leadership during some rough waters.

Thank you to the student-athletes of the Junior Division. You are the reason we all work so hard. Dream Big and Work Even Bigger.  You can do anything. You are tougher and braver than most, but the world will not always see you properly. Ignore those who discourage you and embrace what you love. Work everyday, you possibly can, to make your dreams come true. Dreams can twist and turn, but you must always keep hope.

I never dreamed that I would be president of our division when I started playing prep basketball in 1993, but here we are. I have learned so much and want to continue to work harder to push the envelope and create new opportunities. 

Thank you for so many memories! Let’s create many more. I love you all and am thankful for Dr. Nugent’s bravery, everyday.


Chris Rathje

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