NWBA Hall of Fame Class of 2014 announced

March 18, 2014, 7 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is pleased to announce the Class of 2014 to the NWBA Hall of Fame: Julie Duncan Barnett, Ella Chafee and Reginald “Reggie” Colton.

“The NWBA Board of Directors is thrilled by the Hall of Fame Committee’s selection of three such deserving candidates,” said NWBA Executive Director, Randy Schubert. “This induction continues the long standing tradition of honoring those individuals who have lived by the mission of the NWBA over the past 65 years.” The NWBA Hall of Fame began in 1973 and included the induction of our founder, Tim Nugent.

Ella Chafee

Ella Chafee is a true pioneer in the development of the Women’s Division of the NWBA.

She competed on the first Paralympic women’s basketball team in Tokyo Japan in 1964. In 1968, she returned as a member of the Paralympic women’s team at the games held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Her affiliation and longevity in wheelchair basketball is legendary as she was a member of the Chicago Charmers, Chicago Express, and RIC Sky (a Chicago wheelchair basketball team affiliated with the WNBA Chicago Sky). She has spent a lifetime promoting and preserving women’s wheelchair basketball not only in the Chicago/Midwest region but nationally as well.

For much of her playing career, Ella was the only Class I player on her team and had to play every minute in many of her games.  Her involvement in team development included her serving as the official team representative and assistant coach.

It was Ella’s longtime teammate Mikel Vandello who said it best, “I can’t give you statistics, but I can tell Ella never quit. If she was on the bench, she was always encouraging the players on the floor with her very identifiable voice.”

Today Ella continues to promote women’s wheelchair sports. As a guest lecturer for Project C.H.A.N.G.E., a federally funded program to eliminate misconceptions of person’s with disabilities, she emphasizes that her wheelchair basketball career her most important method of inclusion, and she would pop into her sports chair and demonstrate her moves to the delight of the audience.

Reginald “Reggie” Colton

Reggie Colton defined the position of “Power Forward” in the NWBA and the sport of wheelchair basketball. He was a gentleman who displayed genuine sportsmanship throughout his career. But don’t let that persona fool you…Reggie Colton was as fierce a competitor as anyone who played the game of wheelchair basketball.

Blessed with long arms and a strong upper body…Reggie began his career with the North Florida Renegades in 1983. He immediately made an impact on the game with his ability to “pick and roll’ and rebound. His basketball journey would take him from Florida to the Music City (TN) Lightning(1988-1992); Fresno(CA) Red Rollers (1995-1996);To the Dallas Mavericks(1997-2003).

His distinctive playing career included 7 National Championship Rings(with Fresno, Music City and Dallas). In 12 national final four appearances, Reggie was selected as the MVP in in 1989 and was on the All-Tournament Team 9 times. From 1989 thru 1996, Reggie was perhaps the most consistently effective player in the NWBA. In 1998, at the NWBT, Reggie was awarded the James S Ure Sportmanship Award

Reggie was a stalwart member of the USA National Team and competed in Gold Cup World Championships in England (1990) and, in 1994 in Edmonton, he lead Team USA to a 67-53 victory over Great Britain to win the gold medal. Reggie was named MVP of the Gold Cup Tournament.

Reggie completed his international career by anchoring the Men’s 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Team and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Team.

Reggie was one of the games greatest shot blockers and the guards on his team knew if they got beat on defense…Reggie would have their backs. Teammates, players, coaches, game officials, and organizers respected Reggie the player and person for above all; Reggie respected the game of wheelchair basketball and the opportunities it afforded him.

Julie Barnett Duncan

Dr Stan Labanowich would often quote NWBA founder Dr. Timothy Nugent who said, the game of wheelchair basketball will always belongs to the players who play the game. Julie Duncan learned this early on in her career at the University of Kentucky and would spend a lifetime of service and dedication in support of wheelchair basketball athletes.

As an intern in then Commissioners Labanowich NWBA Office at the University of Kentucky, Julie would learn the skills and talents of wheelchair basketball sports management and event planning. In 1982 and for 11 years after, Julie would serve on the steering committee of the Bluegrass Invitational Tournament, the most prestigious wheelchair basketball event next to the National Championships.

In 1987 Julie would take her talents to the California and the Golden State Warriors where, along with her late great husband Bill Duncan, she would become teams, scorekeeper, statistician, and become the teams general manager.

Her service to wheelchair basketball was local, regional and national in scope. From 1987-1990 she served as Assistant Commissioner of the Northern California Wheelchair Basketball Conference. In 1992 she headed the LOC for the PVA National Wheelchair Basketball Camp and Team USA Training Camp at San Jose.

In 2002 she was elected Treasurer of the NWBA and would serve on the NWBA’s Executive Committee for the next six years. During her tenure she developed the NWBA’s annual budget that included grassroots efforts to develop new teams and support conferences. She had an integral role in the development of the NWBA’s officials association. She further managed the funds and travel arrangements for US team competing in international competitions in coordinated efforts with US Paralympics and the USOC.

Julie returned to her hometown of Lexington, KY in 2002 and developed the position of Wheelchair Sports Director at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. In her position Julie would develop and coach both men’s and women’s NWBA teams. In 2008 she led the Hill on Wheels men’s team the NWBA Division III national championship.

It was a coworker at Cardinal Hill who summed up Julie’s spirit and gift, “Julies unwavering dedication to the game of wheelchair basketball opened up doors for not only those dealing with life changing adversity, but for us non-players who saw the many positives of having a wheelchair basketball program at our rehabilitation facility. Julie taught us the process of restoring the opportunity for a kid from Kentucky to play basketball again.”

Julie Barnett was born on May 24, 1959 in Lexington, KY. Julie Barnett Duncan passed away on February 24, 2009 after a courageous battle with cancer. She made the game better for the players who played the game.