US women’s wheelchair basketball announce new coaches

NWBA Hall of Famer and Four-time U.S. Paralympian Trooper Johnson Named 2017-2020 U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach. 12 Jan 2017
Christina Schwab USA (centre left) and Rose Hollermann USA (centre right) celebrate their team's victory 62 - 45 over Germany in the Wheelchair Basketball Women's Gold Medal Match

Christina Schwab USA (centre left) and Rose Hollermann USA (centre right) celebrate their team's victory 62 - 45 over Germany in the Wheelchair Basketball Women's Gold Medal Match

By National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) in the USA has announced the US women's national team coaching staff for the 2017-2020 quadrennium.

The coaching staff was selected by the NWBA High Performance Committee. NWBA Hall of Famer and Paralympian Trooper Johnson will take over the head coaching responsibilities for the next four years. The assistant coaches are 2016 US Rio 2016 Paralympic Games assistant coach Amy Spangler and Adam Kramer.

Johnson, the iconic symbol in the NWBA logo, served as the assistant coach of the US Women's national team from 2013-2016, which rolled to a gold-medal performance at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Professionally, Johnson is the Sports Program Co-ordinator for the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program in California, which includes being the head coach of the Junior Road Warriors Wheelchair Basketball Team. He was the 2013 US men's U23 assistant coach, and the head coach of the 2013 US women's U21, that won a gold at the Junior ParaPan American Games in Argentina.

As an athlete, Johnson is the only US player to compete on 15 national teams (1990-2004), and is widely acknowledged as the most prolific three-point shooter in NWBA history. His shooting accuracy led Team USA to the top of the medal platform for a total of nine gold medals and one silver medal. He also has two bronze medals as an athlete at the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games, and was a member of the 1992 and 2004 US Paralympic teams.

"Being a part of the NWBA program has been a huge part of my life and I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the team over the next four years," said Johnson. "We have so much talent here in the United States and I am confident that we will be able to develop the team over the next few years to be back on the podium in Tokyo."

Spangler returns to the women's National Team sidelines for the third time in her career, having served as the US women's assistant coach on two prior gold-medal winning teams (2004 and 2016). She has coached the NWBA's Junior Varsity Mad City Badgers of Madison, Wisconsin, for the last 11 years, winning the NWBT Junior Varsity National Title in 2005. She has been a camp coach for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater from 1995-2001 and University of Illinois from 1998-2001.

Kramer is the newest addition to the NWBA National Team coaching bench. He has served in a variety of posts in recent years as a member of the 2012 U23 Selection Committee, 2013 and 2015 US women's Team Selection Committee and 2014 US men's Team Selection Committee. He was also a coach at the 2014 and 2016 Women's Developmental Camps. Kramer has been a NWBA coach for the NEDSRA/Synergy Bulls for the last six years, including a fourth-place finish at the 2011 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in the Junior Prep division. He has also been a coach for the University of Alabama wheelchair basketball team.

The U.S. Women's returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women's team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.

"I believe our strength as a team comes directly from our preparation. We will be using all of the resources available to the team through the NWBA High Performance Program to squeeze every bit of athletic ability out of each athlete and help them reach their athletic potential," said Johnson. "We want the athletes feeling confident in their roles and want them to go play the sport that they love, and have a blast doing it. I think when that happens, success will follow."

Last summer, Team USA led six statistical categories over the seven-game stretch. It is the third time that the United States has gone undefeated at the Paralympics, en route to the gold medal. Team USA led shooting percentage at 53.8 percent; points for at 505 points (72.1/game); assists with 178 (25.4/game); fouls with 55; and the least turnovers at 61 (8.7/game). The United States was second in points against with 42.3 per game.