In 2017, the Roger C. Peace Rollin’ Tigers — a newly established junior wheelchair basketball team in Upstate South Carolina — began their first competitive season on the national wheelchair basketball circuit. Six years later, they are National Wheelchair Basketball Association champions in the Prep Division.
Led by Jeff Townsend, lecturer in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and co-director of Clemson Adaptive Sports, and Lindsey Metz, a child-life specialist for Prisma Health, the Rollin’ Tigers are the only competitive junior wheelchair basketball team in South Carolina.
With more than 25 years of experience in adaptive sport and recreation, Townsend has traveled all over the United States and internationally, playing and coaching younger players, including camps in Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, Spain, Mexico, Australia and El Salvador. He also played wheelchair basketball professionally in Australia (2004) and Spain (2009).
Under the coaching of Townsend and Metz, the Rollin’ Tigers have grown from a group of five to 14 athletes from all over South Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
“To see how our athletes have grown individually and as a team over the last six years is nothing short of amazing,” said Townsend. “Their discipline and dedication are truly admirable, and to see their hard work pay off with a national title is the ultimate reward as a coach.”