MU names basketball court after coaching legend

The dedication honors Ron Lykins, Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball head coach and the winningest coach in National Wheelchair Basketball Association history.

  • Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball head coach Ron Lykins at the MizzouRec

Dec. 5, 2022
Contact: Deidra Ashley, ashleyde@missouri.edu 
Photo by Abbie Lankitus and Sam O'Keefe

The University of Missouri and MizzouRec recently dedicated a basketball court in honor of Ron Lykins, MU Wheelchair Basketball head coach and former Team USA Wheelchair Basketball coach.

“Not only are his competitive accomplishments unmatched, but his presence at Mizzou itself is also an institutional point of pride,” MizzouRec Director Stephen Byrd said referring to Lykins. “I hope others will be inspired to invest themselves in making our campus culture more inclusive for everyone.”

Lykins is the winningest coach in international competitions in Team USA Wheelchair Basketball history, garnering 12 gold medals and five silver medals. In 2020, he led the U.S. men’s team to a repeat of gold at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. He also led the American women to back-to-back gold medals in 2004 and 2008. He is the only coach in Paralympic history to lead men’s and women’s teams to gold. Lykins retired from Team USA in 2021.

Senior and former Team Canada Olympian Colin Higgins said coach Lykins is more than deserving of the dedication. “How he has helped so many players and people better themselves is remarkable,” Higgins said. “Seeing the court named after him is awesome. He doesn’t get enough recognition for all that he has done.”

Lykins has coached at Mizzou since 2009. In his debut season, he led the Tigers to their first winning season in program history. Since then, the team has won nine Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball Classics and finished in the top five at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament six times. In November 2022, Lykins was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

“I’m thankful the university has the courage and foresight to offer a program for people with disabilities,” Lykins said, noting that Mizzou is one of only 12 universities in the U.S. with a competitive wheelchair basketball team. “They supported my vision and have worked hard to help me see it through and benefit the students. Without that support, none of this would be possible.”

Story by Jesse Berlin

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