Before coaching the Rollin’ Owls, Noisette coached the Eastern Wheelchair Basketball Conference’s Philadelphia Paranauts and the Bordentown Elks, leading the Elks to two Final Four National Wheelchair Basketball Titles in 1976 and 1977. Noisette also served as the first commissioner for the Mid-Atlantic Conference from 1972 to 1977.
At Temple, Noisette emphasized community integration with athletes with disabilities and began arranging recreational activities at Temple’s facilities with group homes throughout Philadelphia, with therapeutic recreation students running the activities known as the TR Lab.
“On Tuesday nights … there would be close to 200 people in attendance, using the pool, bowling alley and gyms at Pearson Hall,” said Shank.
In 1988, Noisette’s final year at Temple, he was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame and received a citation of recognition from Philadelphia’s then-Mayor Wilson Goode, commending Noisette for his achievements in working with athletes with disabilities.
In 1989, Temple University hosted the Central Collegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament for the first time in East Coast history, and although he had already left the university, “it would have never come to Temple without John,” Shank said.
Noisette was known as a quiet man; even the citation from Mayor Goode described him as “modest and unassuming in his professional life.” But underneath that modest exterior was a passion for enabling athletes with disabilities.
Shank said, “What impressed me most [about John] was his ability to encourage athletes with disabilities to believe in themselves and focus on what they could do, rather than what society tells them they can’t.”
— Written by Tom Rice
For the Office of News Communications