ARLINGTON - Jim Hayes, founder and long-time coach of The University of Texas at Arlington's Movin' Mavs wheelchair basketball team, has been named to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association's Hall of Fame. Hayes, who died in May 2008, was selected in the contributor's category.
Hayes led the team to seven national championships. The Movin' Mavs, now under Coach Doug Garner, are competing for their eighth title at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament this week at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
"Jim Hayes was an excellent coach and administrator very much missed by all," said Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president of Student Affairs at UT Arlington. "Jim has touched the lives of countless individuals through his dedication to sport and strong advocacy for access to higher education for all individuals.
"He is highly deserving of this award as a trailblazer for sports opportunities for disabled students and his phenomenal record as a coach winning seven national titles while at UT Arlington," Lamas said.
Through Hayes' efforts, UT Arlington offered the first athletic scholarship to a wheelchair basketball player in 1989.
In its release, the NWBA said "Coach Hayes pioneered the practice of providing scholarships for wheelchair basketball players at the college level, inspiring coaches at competing schools to seek and receive financial assistance for their players. That significant act propelled wheelchair basketball into the mainstream of intercollegiate athletics."
Hayes injured his spinal cord in a diving accident at age 18. After graduating from UT Arlington, he worked for the University, creating the Office for Students with Disabilities and forming wheelchair basketball and tennis teams.
Hayes served as player and coach in the early years of the Movin' Mavs wheelchair basketball team, becoming the team's full-time coach in 2000. His No. 11 jersey was retired in November.
Former player Randy Snow became the first wheelchair athlete inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004. Many of Hayes' players have represented UT Arlington at the USA World Championships and the Paralympics, including Willie Hernandez, Steve Welch, Mikey Paye and Paul Schulte.
A wheelchair road racer, Hayes won a gold medal in the 1984 Paralympics. In 2005, the NWBA honored Hayes with its Spirit Award.
Players named to the Hall of Fame this week were Dave Efferson and Sharon Miller. Efferson is a 1988 Paralympic and three-time Gold Cup gold medalist and former Los Angeles Star player. Miller led the University of Illinois to five consecutive national championships and won the 1990 World Championship and gold, silver and bronze medals in the 1996 Paralympics.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.