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New Head Coach Joins Tiger Wheelchair Basketball Team

Ron Lykins is former coach of the USA Women's Paralympic teams

Feb. 16, 2009

Story Contact:  Christian Basi, (573) 882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— From Spain to Georgia, France to Minnesota, Ron Lykins has travelled the world coaching and training wheelchair basketball teams. Now, after 29 years of experience, Lykins is proud to call Mizzou his new home and the Tiger Wheelchair Basketball Team (TWB) his new team. Lykins was named the new coach of TWB on Feb. 2.

“I couldn’t think of anywhere better to coach than Mizzou,” said Lykins. “It has great academics, sports, cultural activities and fantastic facilities. This position was very appealing not just to me, but to lots of people.”

A former coach of the USA Women’s Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Team, Lykins has led his teams to win gold medals at both the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games. In 2007, Lykins’ team won the gold medal at the Para Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Mizzou TWB player John Gilbert competed on the men’s team.

Lykins received his bachelor’s degree in community recreation and his master’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky, where he began his coaching career as a volunteer coach for the university’s wheelchair basketball team. After college, he spent nearly 10 years as the head coach of the wheelchair basketball team at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. 

  “The Tiger Wheelchair Basketball program has grown considerably over the past five years,” said Diane Dahlmann, director of Mizzou Recreation Services and Facilities. “The addition of Ron Lykins will allow the program to evolve and flourish. These are exciting times for our athletes and this important program.”

With only four weeks left until the national wheelchair basketball tournament in Denver, Lykins said he wants to get to know team members and help them improve in the upcoming weeks. He also hopes to encourage more attendance at the games. 

  “What people don’t realize is that this team belongs to everybody—students, faculty and the community,” Lykins said. “There are only about 10 university programs like MU’s in the United States. This is a unique program.”           

Tiger Wheelchair Basketball student-athletes challenge themselves not just athletically, but academically, balancing the many demands of the college classroom with the demands of the basketball court. In the past, the team has boasted a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Previously, MU opened a new fitness room to accommodate the TWB team. The Tiger Wheelchair Basketball Team Fitness Center offers players a private workout area complete with ergometers and weight-lifting equipment.

For a complete schedule of Tiger Wheelchair Basketball Events, visit

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