Steve Paxton, the head coach of Tiger Wheelchair Basketball, is in the process of building a team.
A year ago, he picked up his life in Ohio and moved to Columbia to coach the first wheelchair basketball team at MU. Paxton’s priority is recruiting students to play for his team.
The basketball team has two members, but Paxton said he hopes to have more than five players next fall so the team would be able to compete. He said it is difficult recruiting people to come to MU, as it does not have a program, yet.
Paxton spends a lot of time recruiting students. He goes to many junior wheelchair circuit tournaments to find students interested in the sport. On Thursday, he went to San Jose, Calif., to recruit players from the Junior Nationals Tournament.
The two members of the team are currently in training. Paxton coaches them three days a week from 6 to 9 in the morning.
They spend their time lifting weights in the “Jungle Gym” of the Student Recreation Complex, exercising on the track and learning basic skills on the court. Their schedule will become more demanding when the team gets more players.
“No matter how much you like practice, everyone looks forward to the games,” Paxton said.
For the past 10 years Paxton has coached a variety of sports, including junior high and high school football, tennis, quad rugby and wheelchair basketball and tennis.
“I like working with kids and watching them grow and develop,” he said.
Paxton played wheelchair basketball for the first time in college. He played on the collegiate team at Wright State for his four eligible years. After that, he intermittently played on a club team until he came to MU.