U.S. wheelchair basketball coaches named through 2016
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association announced the U.S. wheelchair basketball head coaches for the men's and women's teams through the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Roy Lykins will oversee the men while Stephanie Wheeler will work with the women.
"I'm very excited about the high quality candidates our selection process has produced," said Dan Byrnes, chair of the USA Wheelchair Basketball High Performance Committee. "Stephanie and Ron bring a wealth of knowledge on the international and domestic level, and we are confident in their ability to attract, motivate and develop a pool of athletes that can deliver on our gold medal standards."
Lykins and Wheeler will lead their respective teams to the 2014 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation World Championships the 2015 Para Pan American Games and the 2016 Paralympic Games and other tournaments over the next four years.
Lykins has been both a college coach as well as a Team USA wheelchair basketball head coach over the past 18 years, serving in the lead role for nine different international teams. His teams have captured six prestigious gold medals including the women's titles at both the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He also has led U.S. teams to three Silver Medals at the Barcelona 1992 Games and the 2002 and 2006 world championships.
He has been the head coach of the collegiate men's program at the University of Missouri since 2009. Lykins also coached at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Kentucky.
In 2007, he was a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee's Paralympic Coach of the Year. Lykins was also nominee in 2004 and 2006.
Wheeler has most recently been the head coach of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Under 25 Team that won the Gold Medal at the 2011 IWBF World Championships. Concurrently, she has been the head women’s coach at the University of Illinois since 2009. Prior to her current role, she was the assistant coach at the University of Alabama from 2005-09 .
As a player, she has had incredible success at the international and collegiate level. Internationally, as a player for the USA Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Team, she has two Paralympic gold medals from the Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and Beijing, China in 2008, a gold medal from the 2010 IWBF World Championships and gold medal from the 2007 ParaPan American Games. Wheeler won two silver medals with Team USA at the 2002 and 2006 IWBF World Championships. She played on four collegiate national championship teams and was selected to the All-Tournament Team in five different years.
As a leader in the sport, Stephanie served as a mentor athlete for U.S. Paralympics from 2008-10 and an athlete ambassador for The Hartford from 2007-11. She is currently is a member of the NCAA Subcommittee on Disability.
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the U.S. men won a bronze medal, the first medal for the program since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. The women finished fourth.