Head Coach Tim Frick has been leading the Canadian National Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team since 1990 - photo by Bogetti-Smith Photography
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 7 | Jul. 3, 2008
Frick’s Wheel-life Journey Began at UBC
By Don Wells
One of the most successful coaches in Canadian paralympic history, Tim Frick says his career path can be traced directly back to his undergraduate days in what was then UBC’s School of Physical Education. It was there in 1977 he met a young wheelchair athlete and fellow physical education student named Rick Hansen.
Inspired by Hansen and others at UBC, Frick began a lifelong pursuit of coaching wheelchair athletes. His many coaching triumphs eventually culminated in him being named head coach of the Canadian National Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team in 1990. Under his guidance, Canada has won medals in every Paralympic Games and World Championships since 1992 -- most of them gold.
“Rick had a big influence on my life,” says Frick. “My experiences with him made me decide to focus on adaptive physical education, which is the area in which I did my master’s degree.”
“There were other incredible people at UBC in those days too -- coaches like Peter Mullins, Lionel Pugh, Bob Hindmarch and Jack and Marilyn Pomfret. They all became my unofficial mentors. They didn’t know it, but they were.”
Frick and Hansen remained close friends and colleagues after graduation, with Frick coaching Hansen in wheelchair marathon, and later playing a key role in helping to launch and stage the Man in Motion World Tour that raised millions for spinal cord research.
At the same time, he was a devoted volunteer coach for both wheelchair basketball and volleyball. His commitment to advancing sport opportunities for disabled athletes one day led him to the bedside of Terry Fox, who had just lost his leg to cancer. He convinced Fox to play wheelchair basketball, and later became his coach too.
Currently on a one-year leave from his job teaching sport sciences at Douglas College, Frick is quietly optimistic about his team’s chances in Beijing, although he agrees with many other coaches that the Chinese will rise to this historical occasion.
“Australia, Germany and the USA are always going to be strong,” says the Order of British Columbia recipient, “but I think the Chinese will surprise a lot of people.”