The following history was provided to WPDHAC by James Glatch, Head Coach of the Wheelchair Basketball program at PennWest University.
PennWest Edinboro, formerly Edinboro University, has a long history of serving students with disabilities. Currently, over 400 students with various disabilities are enrolled (about 10% of the campus population). The University’s Wheelchair Basketball team is part of the University’s Athletic Department, which is rare even for universities across the country that have adaptive sports. Wheelchair Basketball at Edinboro remains the only adaptive sports program in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Formative Years
Wheelchair Basketball began on the Edinboro University campus in 1980 as a recreation team that participated against other Edinboro student organizations, faculty and anyone that wanted to jump in a wheelchair to try out the game. The first team was named the Wild Wheelers, at that time the team was under the guidance of Dr. Jon Kron and competed as a campus activity until 1985. In 1985, the Wild Wheeler athletes organized on campus to become a Student Government recognized group and formed the Rolling Scots. Through 1995, this team competed primarily in the Keystone Conference and was able to win one game in that period of time. In 1996, the Rolling Scots Basketball Team entered dual status as it started its first season as a member of the Central Intercollegiate Conference.
Edinboro began formal recruiting of student athletes in 1998 and its first recruit, Jason Salawu, from Somerset, New Jersey would start that fall. Since 1998 Edinboro would begin recruiting nationwide. Over the past twenty-five years of recruiting, Edinboro University wheelchair basketball players cover over half of the country and have come from as far away as Utah, New Mexico and Texas. During that same period, the Rolling Scots had a competitive powerlifting team that complemented the basketball team. At that time it was the only program in the country for powerlifting at the collegiate level. Due to a lack of interest the program would fade, but not without some incredible alum that would go on to bright futures.
Moving into the Athletic Department
In 2001, Edinboro University administrators felt compelled to place the Rolling Scots basketball and powerlifting programs into the Athletic Department. With the move into the athletic department came a change in name to the Fighting Scots. Jim Glatch whom had coached the team since 1995 remained the coach of this new varsity program. Edinboro started a junior basketball camp in 2001 on campus with 16 participants. Camp primarily focuses on instruction of the game of wheelchair basketball and to educate potential student athletes on opportunities after high school.
Edinboro plays all over the country in intercollegiate and non-intercollegiate tournaments. The 2006/2007 Campaign was a very exciting season with the team finishing with a 24- 9 record. The 2006/2007 team hosted college nationals and gave the home crowd something to be proud of making it to the National Championship Game for the first time in team history. The final score was a 70 – 59 loss to Wisconsin Whitewater, but the 2nd place finish capped off a great season. Edinboro is the only team in Pennsylvania participating in the Intercollegiate Division. Rules of the Division are the same as those of their able body counterparts, except that players have five years of eligibility and can participate all five years.
Awards, Accomplishments, and Accolades
In 1998 Edinboro University had its first All American when Jason Shuffstall was named to the 2nd Team. Since 1998 Edinboro has had five 1st Team and thirteen 2nd Team All Americans. Edinboro has also had fifteen Academic All Americans, 3 Sportsmanship of the year awards and in 2020 Chayse Wolf became the first wheelchair basketball player to win Athletic Department (Sox Harrison Award) Male Athlete of the Year. In 2009, Edinboro fielded their first women’s team. This team would only last five seasons but finished 3rd in the nation their final season.
In 2004 Edinboro sent two powerlifters to the Athens Paralympics to represent Team USA. Mary Stack who would compete in 4 Paralympics and Matt Aldridge would make up two thirds of the USA National Powerlifting Team that season. Unfortunately the 2005 season was the last for the Powerlifting program.
In 2009, Head Coach Jim Glatch was named Head Coach of both the Junior and Senior National USA Men’s teams. Glatch was joined in 2009 by Boro players Tommie Gray and Trevon Jenifer on the Gold Medal winning Junior National Team. In 2011 both Jenifer and Boro player Andy Garbarino competed on the USA Senior Team at the Para Pan American Games and Jenifer made the 2012 Paralympic Team that won Bronze in the London Paralympics, the first by a USA Men’s team in twelve years. Also playing for their national team in 2011 and 2012 was Boro Alum Jose Leep who competed with the Columbian National Team.
In 2016 Edinboro alum, Trevon Jenifer would again be a member of Team USA that attended the Rio Paralympic Games. Trey would be on the first team to win a Gold Medal since 1992 for the men. Trey would continue on his Paralympic journey and play for USA in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Games, again winning Gold. Jose Leep also competed in Tokyo with Columbia. Edinboro continues to produce incredible players on and off the court. In 2017 Boro player Chayse Wolf was a member of the USA Junior World National team and this past summer Chayse made his first senior team helping Team USA win a Gold at the America Zone- World Qualifier.
With all of the accomplishments that the Edinboro University wheelchair basketball program has had, none was more significant than the induction of wheelchair basketball alumni Jose Leep into the Edinboro University Athletic Department Hall of Fame in September of 2018. The 4 time All- American is the first member in their 34 year history to ever have this honor bestowed on them. In October of 2022, Trevon Jenifer would join Jose as our 2nd member of the Edinboro Athletic Hall of Fame.
Learn More about the Wheelchair Basketball Program at Edinboro
For more information regarding the Fighting Scots Wheelchair Basketball and Penn West University Edinboro, please contact Jim Glatch, Head Coach, at 814- 732-1875, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
22nd Annual Junior Wheelchair Basketball Camp
Edinboro will be hosting its 22nd Annual Junior Wheelchair Basketball Camp under the direction of Head Coach Jim Glatch. Coach Glatch will be entering his 29th season as Head Coach of the Fighting Scots Wheelchair Basketball Team.
Application and deposit is due no later than Friday, July 28, 2023. Learn more and apply here.