NewsTeam Handball News

U.S. Wheelchair National Team Coaching Staff Named; National Team Tryout Announced

by USA Team Handball

Coaching Staff

Today, USA Team Handball is thrilled to name the inaugural coaching staff of the U.S. Wheelchair National Team. Dr. Ford Dyke is named Head Coach, Reita Clanton, OLY Assistant Coach, and Camden Bentley Head Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach.

“I am excited that Ford and Reita, two passionate and dedicated members of the handball community have stepped up to lead this project.” Martin Branick, USA Team Handball CEO, said. “With Camden alongside them, we have an exceptionally strong team with tremendous experience in both handball and adaptive sports.”

Dr. Ford Dyke, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Mindfulness@Auburn in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University, takes on the role of Head Coach. Dr. Dyke teaches courses in Pillars of Performance & Health, Motor Learning & Performance, and Exercise & Sport Psychology. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his academic tenure and his 7-year career as an athlete on the USA Team Handball Men’s National Team.

Dr. Dyke began his journey in adapted athletics in 2012 as Strength & Conditioning Coach for Wheelchair Basketball at Auburn University. He was instrumental in launching Auburn’s first Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Team under Head Coach Jared Rehm. Over the next decade, Dr. Dyke continued to work with Auburn Adapted Athletics (Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Tennis, and Power Wheelchair Soccer). Currently, he serves as the Performance Coach under the direction of Head Coach Robb Taylor. Dr. Dyke values the collaboration with and mentorship of Coach Taylor. Notably, Coach Taylor has led the U.S. Wheelchair Basketball Men’s National Team to gold medals at the 2022 America's Cup, 2023 World Championship, and 2023 Parapan American Games, and is slated to lead the team to the 2024 Paralympics.

Joining Dr. Dyke is Olympian Reita Clanton, who has an impressive athletic and coaching career. In 1974, she earned Outstanding College Athlete of America recognition. By 1975, she had been selected for the USA Team Handball Women’s National Team, representing the United States in two World Championships and the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. The USOPC honored her as the Sportswoman of the Year for USA Team Handball in 1985. A decade later, in 1996, she was named an Olympic Coach for USA Team Handball. In 1997, Olympian Clanton was inducted into the Tiger Trail of Auburn University. Her partnership with Dr. Dyke began in 2013, and together they bring unparalleled knowledge, expertise, and passion to the U.S. Wheelchair National Team.

Completing the coaching staff is Camden Bentley, the Head Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach for Auburn Adapted Athletics at Auburn University. Bentley received a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from James Madison University and completed his graduate degree at Auburn University. Additionally, he has served on the medical staff for the U.S. Wheelchair Basketball Men’s National Team under the direction of Head Coach Robb Taylor. Bentley and Dr. Dyke work directly with Auburn Adapted Athletics, maintaining a strong professional relationship that will benefit the U.S. Wheelchair National Team.

Together, Dr. Ford Dyke, Olympian Reita Clanton, and Camden Bentley form a coaching staff of knowledge, experience, and dedication. Their combined expertise will drive the U.S. Wheelchair National Team towards national and international success.

Per Dr. Dyke, “We are excited for the opportunity to grow wheelchair handball in the United States. This endeavor goes beyond building a team; it’s about opening the door for adapted athletes to play a dynamic sport and compete on the world stage.”

“Representing Team USA is an honor, and I am dedicated to guiding our team to achieve its highest potential. Together, we will pave the way for future generations of wheelchair handball players and elevate the sport to new heights.”

The United States has accepted a wild card slot for the 3rd IHF Wheelchair Handball World Championship, set to be held in Cairo, Egypt from September 16 to 21, 2024.

“We look forward to the journey ahead and the impact USA Team Handball will have in the 3rd IHF Wheelchair Handball World Championship.” Dr. Dyke added.

Tryout Announcement

Adapted athletes nationwide are invited to join the U.S. Wheelchair National Team. Our goal is to identify elite athletes (men and women) who are passionate, dedicated, and eager to compete at the highest level of international sport. Whether you are new to wheelchair handball or a seasoned player, we encourage you to seize this opportunity to represent Team USA.

Tryouts for the National Team are scheduled for July 5-7, 2024 at Auburn University in Auburn, AL. Athletes will be provided the opportunity to showcase their athletic potential and earn a spot on the national team. Elite athletes with prior wheelchair sports experience are encouraged to participate. Detailed information regarding the tryout schedule, registration process, and eligibility criteria will be available on our website.

We are committed to the long-term growth and development of wheelchair handball, with a vision to see the sport included in the LA28 Paralympic Games. By raising awareness and fostering excellence, we aim to establish wheelchair handball as a premier sport within the Paralympic community.

Interested athletes should fill out the Wheelchair Handball Athlete Intake Form, which can be found HERE.

The National Team Coaching Staff will provide a timely review of the responses and select athletes to attend the tryout at Auburn University from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 7, 2024. Upon selection, athletes will receive a tryout packet with detailed information.

All attendees of the tryout require a current USA Team Handball membership and valid U.S. Center for SafeSport training prior to participating.

Please contact with any questions.