COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced Friday the coaching staff for the 2017 U.S. Men’s U23 World Championship Team. Three-time U.S. Paralympian Jeremy Lade of Whitewater, Wisconsin, will serve as the head coach, and is making his first coaching assignment of a NWBA high performance team. Also, joining Lade on the sidelines as assistant coaches are Christian Burkett of Seattle, Washington, Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, and team leader Kelly Fischbach of Vermillion, South Dakota. The coaching staff was selected by the NWBA High Performance Committee.
Lade, an alternate for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team and a 17-year veteran of the Men’s National team, played for Team USA at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympics, earning a bronze medal in London. He is also a three-time World Championships medalist (2002, 2006, 2010).
He has been the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater wheelchair basketball team for the last nine years, winning six NWBA Collegiate Division titles, and the last three National Championships. He also coached the NWBA’s Junior Division Milwaukee Wizards for three years, winning one national championship.
“Coaching the U23 Men’s Team is a great honor and responsibility,” said Lade. “I understand the feeling of representing Team USA as an athlete, and look forward to the opportunity to serve Team USA as a coach.”
Burkett, the head coach of the Seattle Sonics wheelchair basketball team for the last eight years, comes to the team after serving in a variety of coaching roles at various NWBA High Performance Camps in recent years. He was a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s Paralympic Games Selection Committee, where Team USA won a gold medal at the Rio Paralympic Games, its first since 1988.
Meyer, a six-year assistant coach for the University of Missouri wheelchair basketball team, was also the 2016 U.S. Men’s Paralympic Games Team Leader. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in health science, and earned two master degree in public health and education from the University of Missouri. He has been a member of U.S. Men’s National Team staff since 2013.
Fischbach is making her first appearance on a NWBA High Performance team as the team leader. Her coaching career started with able-bodied high school girl’s basketball, leading her teams to multiple championships in South Dakota. Fischbach is the head coach of the NWBA’s Junior Division Nebraska Red Dawgs, and has won four NWBA National Championships in 2008 (Prep and Varsity Junior Divisions), 2011, and 2012. She is a physical education teach at Jolley Elementary School, and is the head coach of the boy’s and girl’s cross country teams at Vermillion High School, and an assistant high school track coach.
“The NWBA High Performance Committee identified a strong slate of coaches for the Men’s U23 World Championships,” said Jim Scherr, NWBA Executive Director. “It is important for the United States to identify a U23 Men’s team for the continued development of our upcoming athletes and coaches.”
The U.S. Men’s U23 World Championship Team will be selected on Saturday, January 7, following the conclusion of the U23 Men’s Selection Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The U.S. team will then travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Continental Qualifer, January 22-29. The United States must place in top two to qualify for the 2017 IWBF Men’s U23 World Championships, scheduled for Toronto, Canada, June 8-16.
The U23 men’s wheelchair basketball program is an international development team that serves as NWBA pipeline to the U.S. Men’s National Team. This program provides elite youth athletes the opportunity to compete at the international level. Team USA has reached the championship game in three of the last five U23 World Championships, having won in 2005 and 2009. The United States claimed a bronze medal in 2001, and did not participate in 2013.