The 2018 NWBA Hall of Fame class was announced Tuesday by the NWBA Hall of Fame Committee. The 2018 inductees are a group of five individuals, who made their name staples in the wheelchair basketball community. This year’s inductees include: Mike Frogley of Whitby, Ontario; Chuck Gill of San Francisco, California; Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri; Jason Van Beek of Chino, California and Stephanie Wheeler of Champaign, Illinois.
This year’s Hall of Fame class represents a younger generation of inductees who are responsible for transforming the game into what it is today. The class is headlined by Ron Lykins, the winningest international coach in NWBA history. Lykins also is partially responsible for the overall development of two other 2018 NWBA Hall of Fame Inductees – Frogley (coach) and Wheeler (athlete and coach).
The NWBA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is set for Saturday, April 14 at the Omni Hotel Louisville at 8:00 p.m., where NWBA Hall of Fame Chairperson Frank Burns will oversee the celebration. The Hall of Fame inductions have been held in conjunction with the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament presented by ABC Medical for many years, and this marks the 70th anniversary.
Mike Frogley, Whitby, Ontario, Coach
As a coach with the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater from 1993-1997 and the University of Illinois from 1997-2013, Mike Frogley won 12 National Championships with men’s and women’s teams in his collegiate tenure. Throughout his career, Frogley has coached 25 All-Americans, 21 Academic All-Americans, 18 U.S. Paralympians and at least another five players that represented Team USA in other major international competitions.
Frogley has always been on the cutting edge on spreading wheelchair basketball through camps. Many summers he would have over 100 athletes at his camps ranging from novice to elite. He also had a coaching clinic that ran in conjunction with the camps that helped coaches on the local, collegiate and international level. Frogley’s guidance helped in the development of camps at several other colleges and communities throughout the United States that are thriving today.
Frogley later moved behind the Canadian bench, serving as the head coach of the Men’s National Team from 1996-2004. He guided the Canada Men’s National team to Paralympic supremacy for the first time in program history with back-to-back gold medals in 2000 and 2004, as well as a Paralympic silver medal in 2008. Frogley’s coaching career started under the tutelage of fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Ron Lykins.
Chuck Gill, San Francisco, California, Player
Chuck Gill was born in San Francisco and started playing wheelchair basketball in 1987 for the NWBA BORP Berkeley Breakers. Gill started playing with the Golden State Road Warriors’ “Golden State 76ers” in 1991 and has been the Golden State Road Warriors team captain for the last 13 years.
Gill had speed, size, shooting ability and an on-the-court presence that the team needed from a two guard. With him and Hall of Famer Trooper Johnson in the backcourt, Golden State quickly became one of the top NWBA Adult teams. The duo led Golden State to its first Final Four National Tournament in 1997. The Far West Sectional game stands out in Gill’s career. With 12:30 left in the Championship game, Gill and three other Road Warriors had to finish the game because Jeff Briehl fouled out and there was no sub for a legal line up. Gill showed his leadership and poise in that game.
That is one of the many reasons he has been a two-time NWBA National Champion and 12-time NWBA All- Star. Gill showed his professionalism and knowledge of the game by being an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team in 2011 and 2012.
Ron Lykins, Columbia, Missouri, Coach
Ron Lykins is the winningest international coach in NWBA history – winning three Paralympic Games (2004 and 2008 for U.S. Women; and 2016 for U.S. Men). He presently coaches the U.S. Men’s National Team in hopes of defending its 2016 Paralympic gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Lykins’ coaching resume is nothing short of amazing, having coached in 16 international competitions, reaching the gold-medal games in 14 of those, and bringing home the top podium finish in 10 events. This includes: three Paralympic Games; one World Championships; two Para Pan American Games; and four American Zonal Qualifiers. He also has a Paralympic silver medal in 1992, and three silver medals from the World Championships.
The style and system that his teams have run during Paralympic years have revolutionized the way wheelchair basketball is played around the world. Other countries are trying to duplicate and emulate what he has done with Team USA. On top those accolades, Lykins is the first head coach to win Paralympic gold medals with both the U.S. Men’s and U.S. Women’s Paralympic Teams.
Like many others, he has spent the majority of his adult life in wheelchair basketball. He got his start at the University of Kentucky under the mentorship of then NWBA commissioner and Hall of Famer Stan Labanowich. What started out as a college internship turned into a passion, career and ultimately his life’s work. Lykins has coached at every level within the NWBA. He has coached within the Intercollegiate Division at the University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and University of Missouri. He also coached at the community level with the Atlanta Hawks Wheelchair Basketball Team and Minnesota Junior Rolling Timberwolves. Lykins’ greatest successes and honors have been achieved during his time spent on the sidelines for Team USA.
Jason Van Beek, Chino, California, Player
Jason Van Beek was born in Chino, California, and played in his first NWBT at the age of 10 with the Casa Colina Condors in 1982. Since then, Van Beek has won nine NWBT championships and four NIWBT Championships with the University of Texas at Arlington from 1990-1994. In his fours years at UTA, Van Beek only lost one intercollegiate game.
At 6' 5" tall with long strong arms, Van Beek played the small forward, power forward and center positions with fierce determination, focus and excellence. He was the ultimate team player who was able to dominate when necessary. Van Beek played with some of the NWBA’s best teams and he was a major part of their success. He was a center that could shoot well when he posted up, a good foul shooter, had range from as far as the foul line and was very knowledgeable about moving without the ball. On defense, he was the rim protector and would utilize the principal of zone defense away from the ball and grab every rebound on a missed shot.
Stephanie Wheeler, Champaign, Illinois, Coach
Stephanie Wheeler is the epitome of the athlete-turned-coach in the NWBA, having found major success in both realms. She has a very impressive coaching resume, having coached at the University of Illinois since 2009, the Under-25 USA Women’s National Team in 2011 and the U.S. Women’s National team from 2013 to 2016.
She has achieved at every level on and off the court. She has been an all-star and MVP in the Women’s Division. She has also won national championships as a player at two schools, University of Illinois and University of Alabama. Wheeler also is U.S. Paralympic gold medalist as a player in 2004 and 2008 and then as the head coach of the women in 2016.
In 2001, Wheeler made her first USA Developmental Team. In 2010 she was co-captain of the gold-medal winning World Championships team in Birmingham, England. Her achievements as a player are a mile long winning a total of four gold medals, two silver medals and numerous international championships across the globe. Wheeler transitioned from athlete to coach when she was selected as the head coach the 2011 USA Women’s Under 25 national team, where she led the team to victory at the inaugural event. She later earned the distinction of NWBA Developmental Coach of the Year.
Wheeler has been a key person in the growth of the women’s game in the United States. While at Illinois, she was part of the team that sought to find the toughest competition they could to prepare for international competition by competing in the Adult Division II of the NWBA and was part of the team that chose to go and compete in the men’s college division.
When she graduated from Illinois, she went down to Alabama to help a young Alabama program grow and develop. Currently, Wheeler is having continued success off the court and is on track to earn her Doctorates degree in philosophy from the University of Illinois. She was also inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
The 70th Annual National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament presented by ABC Medical will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 12-15. There will be a total of 96 teams represented by the NWBA Adult and Junior Divisions. The top 16 teams from each of the Adult Divisions (D-I, D-II, and D-III). The Junior Division will feature the top 16 ranked teams in Varsity and Prep divisions. In total, five National Championship trophies will be awarded. The Junior Varsity Division will also feature the National Invitational Tournament, with 16 teams rolling for a title.
The 2017 NWBT is a ticketed event and tickets are now on sale. Tickets are available now until April 3 from the NWBA by clicking here.