CHAMPAIGN (IWBF) - An early leader in the field of adaptive sport, Dr. Nugent founded the National Wheelchair Basketball Association in 1948.
Prior to that he was the founder and director of Division of Rehabilitation Education Services at the University of Illinois, the first post-secondary disability support service program in the world until 1985.
He was also responsible for championing many accessibility firsts. The University of Illinois was the first to provide curb cuts for wheelchairs, the first to have fully accessible bus routes, and the first to provide adaptive sports for students with disabilities.
About the NWBA, Dr. Nugent once stated, "This was a small beginning of a great thing to be, not only much wanted, but much needed."
Former NWBA commissioner and most recently the president of the IWBF Americas Zone, Dick Bryant said, "He was the greatest man I have ever known and respected the most on this earth."
The University of Illinois has continued to influence wheelchair basketball around the world, with players from many countries playing there over the years. In the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, 10 of the 12 players [http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-09-24/sports/0409240172_1_illinois-wheelchair-paralympians] on the USA Women’s National Team were from the university.
"The world lost a giant today," said Ann Cody, a former Illinois player and Paralympian, now a program officer for Sports United, a diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State. "Tim Nugent had a profound influence on my life and I am so much better for having known this man. A WWII veteran, he understood the power of sport and the importance of a college degree for people with disabilities."
Dr. Nugent was interviewed for FIBA.com’s Wheel World column last year.