John Bishop - Administrator - 2005
Position: Administrator (1996-2008)
Hall of Fame Induction: 2005
Home: Lake Worth, Florida
In 1976 at the age of 19, John Bishop began his life as a quad in the cold climates of Michigan. There he participated in track in field at a social level, but never went on to a competitive level in sport until moving to South Florida in 1989. He eventually gave Rugby a try after months of calls by Palm Beach Rattlers team founder Brenda Cole. This was in the early 90’s when Palm Beach was one of three teams in Florida. The Rattlers lacked many resources including players, and John quickly became an asset to the team. Like many quads before him, John entered the sport past his prime athletic years.
Although John was never a standout player on the court nor received all-tourney honors, he was a star off the court. As a player he made the Palm Beach Rattlers a more competitive team while evolving them into the South Florida Rattlers. He became a strong organizer, advocate and administrator, which as a result made them more competitive. He found gyms, sponsors, volunteers, referees, coaches, and players for team.
By the mid 90’s his passion for the sport was clear by the hours he put in on and off the court. He was the teams starting class 2.0 on the court and MVP off the court. In 1995, the South Florida program, spearheaded by John, hosted the USQRA’s Atlantic Sectional tournament. This would be the first of a string of tournaments that he would host annually, including the Knock and Roll International which is still going today. Some years he organized both the Knock and Roll and other USQRA post season events as needed.
His contributions reached further than just South Florida, as he volunteered his skills to help organize the annual Valdosta Cup. This was no easy task as the closest teams were four hours away. This was second longest running annual tournament in the sport until he stepped down as primary coordinator in 2003. The Cup unfortunately ended a couple years later without his dedication to the Southeast region.
He also co-founded the Florida Rugby League with Terry Vinyard, whom he worked with as a Valdosta Cup organizer for several years. The Florida League provided additional playing opportunities for Sarasota, Tampa, and the South Florida team. The level of Florida teams soon began to rise, and South Florida eventually qualified for their first National Tournament in 1998.
John was his teams Manager and Treasurer from 1992–2004, and even hosted events in the years that South Florida didn’t roster a team. In 1996, he was elected Treasurer of the USQRA and not only assisted in League sponsorships, but also raised funds for the 1998 USA World Championship Team. He also organized and hosted the selection camp for the 1998 World Championship team despite having no official role with the team. He would continue his role as USQRA Treasurer until 2006, and is responsible for several of the sponsorships that still exist today. As part of this role he helped the Board develop a five year business plan for the USQRA.
In 1999, John was selected as Team Manager for the US National team and served in that role through 2004. He subsequently served as a selector for National team squads from 1999-2008. While in this role he co-wrote a long term High Performance Training Program to help develop future US National team athletes. He created a skills and ranking system to help evaluate and track the progress of athletes, and helped develop and introduce a professional business plan for the US National program that is still utilized today.
In 1996 he opened the global communications door to the sport by founding and launching Quadrugby.com, the first website dedicated to our sport. Not only did this website promote the game in the USA, but it made it possible for thousands of quads around the world to learn about and follow the sport from home. This was just in time for rugby’s inclusion at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, where John provided team updates and results from the games he attended as a fan. John single handedly ran and maintained the USQRA website for 12 years.
In 2000 John was awarded the “USQRA Spirit of Achievement” award for his dedication and promotion of the sport along with numerous other contributions. He has certainly set benchmarks in all areas, which led to his induction into the USQRA Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 2004, John was appointed to the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) Board as Vice President of Communications, and served in that role through 2010. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympics he presented medals on behalf of the IWRF. In 2009, John become part of the international coaching fraternity by coaching Argentina at the first IWRF Americas Zone Championship in Buenos Aires, and qualifying them for the IWRF 2010 World Championship in Vancouver. At that same tournament he ran for and was elected President of the IWRF, and served in that role for eight years.
John worked with the USQRA Hall of Fame committee in developing and establishing the physical USQRA Hall of Fame display, which can be visited at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. His ongoing dedication, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally have been instrumental to the sports vast growth and success. To put it simply, no one has done more off of the court for our sport in the United States than John.