COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the newest inductees of the NWBA Hall of Fame Class of 2024. This year's class, a historic first in the NWBA Hall of Fame history, is exclusively composed of women. This milestone coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s Sports Foundation, underlining its ongoing mission for equity in sports and the NWBA’s commitment to developing talent among women and girls in wheelchair basketball. The Class of 2024 includes two competitors and one contributor. All three inductees have made a significant impact on our sport, showcasing not only their athletic prowess but also their dedicated service to the growth of the game and the development of young talent. The induction ceremony for these well-deserving individuals is scheduled for Saturday, April 13th, 2024, at War Memorial in Richmond, VA, the host city of the 2024 NWBT National Championships. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith, Dr. Darlene Hunter, and Cheryl Lady Vines.
To learn more about their backgrounds and specific impact on the sport, please continue reading below:
Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith, a distinguished member of the NWBA for over two decades, is a remarkable figure in the world of wheelchair basketball. With a notable career as both a player and contributor, Andrea has left an indelible mark on the sport. As a key member of the 2012 Paralympic Team and a consistent presence on the National Team from 2003 to 2012, Andrea's achievements include a Gold Medal at the 2010 World Championship, Gold at the Para Pan American Games, and a 4th place finish in the 2012 London Paralympics.
Beyond her on-court success, Andrea is an advocate and trailblazer. As the second Female African American to be on a Paralympic Team, she has broken barriers and continues to inspire. Her commitment extends beyond playing, as she actively contributes to the growth of wheelchair basketball. Andrea served as a member of the Board of Directors and various other committees within the NWBA, including the High Performance Committee and the Women’s Growth and Diversity Committee, before stepping own due to family illness. Furthermore, her research in wheelchair basketball showcases its profound impact on individuals with disabilities, emphasizing its significance not only in promoting a healthy physical lifestyle but also providing crucial mental and emotional support.
In addition to her sporting achievements, Andrea holds a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Adapted Physical Education and currently serves as the Interim Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration at the North Carolina Central University. Her educational background, coaching experiences, and administrative roles further exemplify her dedication to the holistic development of athletes and the promotion of adapted sports. Andrea Woodson-Smith's multifaceted contributions to wheelchair basketball make her Hall of Fame Induction that much more deserving.
We are thrilled to announce the induction of Dr. Darlene Hunter into the prestigious Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Hailing from Walled Lake, Michigan, Darlene’s journey is marked by resilience, leadership, and unparalleled contributions to wheelchair basketball.
At the age of four, an accident on a road grader resulted in a spinal cord injury. Three years later, Darlene began her athletic journey with track and field and wheelchair basketball in college, setting the stage for a remarkable athletic career.
Dr. Hunter's wheelchair basketball journey is adorned with achievements, including being a National Team Member from 2010 to 2016 and 2019 to 2021. As the Co-Captain of the 2020/2021 Paralympic Team in Tokyo, she secured a Bronze Medal, adding to her impressive collection that includes Gold and Silver Medals from the Paralympics and Parapan American Games.
Darlene’s commitment to the sport expanded beyond the court, as she assumed the role of coach for the Lady Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball Team and Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavericks White Team in Dallas. Dr. Hunter's passion for nurturing talent led her to host an annual women's wheelchair development camp at the University of Texas-Arlington.
With a PhD Degree in Family Studies from Texas Women’s University, Darlene actively serves on various boards and committees, dedicating her time to advancing wheelchair basketball and advocating for policy changes within sports organizations.
She currently serves as the Athlete Representative for Wheelchair Basketball for the United States Olympic/Paralympic, National Wheelchair Basketball Association, and the NWBA Women's Growth & Development Committee. She holds other pivotal roles in various organizations, including the President of the Southwest Wheelchair Athletic Association and the Lady Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball Association.
In recognition of her outstanding achievements, tireless dedication, and exemplary leadership, Dr. Darlene Hunter rightfully joins the esteemed Hall of Fame, leaving an indelible mark on the legacy of wheelchair basketball. Congratulations to a true pioneer and inspiration.
Cheryl Lady Vines, a constant figure in the world of wheelchair basketball, is set to be inducted into the NWBA Hall of Fame Class of 2024 in the Contributor category. Cheryl's journey with the NWBA began in 1972 when she witnessed her first wheelchair basketball game between the Sacramento Athletic Club and the faculty at her high school, sparking a passion that would define her life.
Cheryl's dedicated involvement in wheelchair basketball spans decades, starting from her support for the Valley Freewheelers in the mid-1970s to her instrumental role with the Arkansas Rollin Razorbacks, where she participated in 14 consecutive post-season tournaments and contributed to five national championships. Her commitment extended to establishing the Wayne Kunishige Scholarship and the Bill and Julie Duncan Good Guy award, recognizing excellence in academics, sports, and community service.
Notably, Cheryl's impact expanded beyond team support. She served on the Tournament Selection Committee, becoming the first woman in the committee's history, and later assumed the role of Chair. Her significant contributions continued as she worked alongside her husband, Harry Vines (HOF), during his tenure as NWBA president, contributing to the organization's growth and communication systems.
In 2011, Cheryl embraced a new role as a classifier, actively participating in the adoption of the 4-point system and the move to functional classification. Her dedication to the NWBA continues to this date, as she took on a pivotal role as the Treasurer in the Hall of Fame committee in 2021, working diligently with Chairman, Dave Kiley to elevate the Hall of Fame brand and its Induction Ceremony and ensure it became a source of pride for all attendees.
Cheryl Vines' legacy is one of unwavering commitment, leadership, and advocacy within the NWBA, making her a fitting addition to the esteemed Hall of Fame Class of 2024.
All members of the NWBA and the Hall of Fame are invited to attend the Induction Ceremony of the Class of 2024 on Saturday, April 13, 2024 evening at War Memorial in Richmond, VA, the host city of the 2024 NWBT National Championships. For those unable to attend in person, the Red Carpet event, hosted once again by 5x Paralympian & 2x Gold Medalist, Matt Scott, and the ceremony will be live streamed on the NWBA Hall of Fame YouTube Channel.
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