Adapted athletics hires new women's wheelchair basketball coach with Paralympic experienceBy Ben Boynton | 06/08/2016 3:07pm
The University of Alabama hired Canadian National Team veteran Adam Lancia to be the new head coach of its women's wheelchair basketball team.
Lancia played for the University of Illinois from 1999-2005, and is new to collegiate coaching. He earned two gold medals and a silver medal in three Paralympics, and has been a member of the Canadian National Team since 2001. Lancia previously coached the ASV-Bonn German First Division team from 2008-2011, and the Nova Scotia Flying Wheels First Division team from 2012-2015.
The prospect of coaching at the collegiate level definitely factored into Lancia's decision to take the job, but there was another reason Alabama was a good fit. Lancia's wife and point guard for the Canadian National Team, Jamey Jewells, will be on the team beginning in the fall. In fact, according to Lancia, his wife was the first to draw interest from Alabama.
"They've actually been interested in her coming down a little bit longer than they were interested in me coming down and coaching," Lancia said. "It was one of those things where we were going to have Jamey down there playing and I felt ready to move into coaching."
Dr. Brent Hardin, the director of UA Adapted Athletics, said he’s followed Lancia since his college days.
“I try to keep a shortlist because it’s hard to find good, qualified people,” Hardin said. “I’ve known Adam for a long time, and I’ve always felt like he was very professional and a really likable guy. This is the kind of guy you look at and say ‘I’d like to have this guy at Alabama sometime.’”
The team went 15-12 overall last season under previous coach Elisha Williams, but the roster Lancia inherits is a wholly different squad. Seven new players will suit up for the Crimson Tide and six of them have some sort of international experience.
Lancia told Hardin that he hopes to bring a style of play that is dynamic and simulates the “chaotic nature of wheelchair basketball.” In a press release from UA Adapted Athletics, Lancia said, “‘my offensive strategy is to frustrate defenses, and my defensive strategy is to frustrate offenses.’” He is looking to run a fast, up-tempo offense and utilize smaller lineups and three-point shooting to counter bigger and slower teams.
Hardin is excited about having both of the husband and wife duo on campus.
“It’ll be a good challenge for them,” Hardin said. “She’s a really great player and someone we’d really like to have here. We knew that she wanted to come to the University, but we didn’t know if Adam was ready to coach or not and finish his playing career. But this timing is perfect."
This won’t be the first time Lancia has been on the same team as his wife, as they have both been on the Canadian National Team together and have played together in multiple rec leagues. This isn’t even the first time Lancia has coached his wife, as he served as a player-coach when they played together in Nova Scotia. However, this is the first time he has been her coach and not also her teammate, but Lancia doesn’t anticipate too many difficulties working with Jewells.
“It’ll be easier in some senses because I will only be coaching, so I won’t be able to not pass her the ball when she’s open,” Lancia said. “It will have its challenges though, because there are things that are going to happen in a game where a coach has to make decisions, and while a conversation about those things usually would only happen at the office or in the gym, I may have to continue those conversations in the car on the way home.”
Lancia said he and his wife have spent a fair amount of time discussing it and are both excited for the new opportunities they have.
“One’s not out to get the other,” Lancia said. “We’re a team, and I think we’ll be okay.”