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Bill Furbish

After a devastating accident just after completing college, Bill Furbish sustained a complete spinal cord injury. During his recovery, Bill explored recreation therapy and once he was introduced to adaptive water skiing, his athletic career began. He won gold and bronze medals in track and field in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul. He helped start and still participates on Shepherd Center’s wheelchair rugby team. And he holds world records in two of the three adaptive water skiing events — slalom and jumping. Bill has been involved in the community of adaptive sports for many years pioneering Shepherd Center’s information technology department and serving as the director of information services when the Paralympic Games came to Atlanta in 1996. He gives back to his community by mentoring and coaching younger athletes.

Bill Furbish is an 11 time National Champion and currently holds National Records in slalom, tricks and jump. He competed in 9 World Championships, set 5 World Records and is the current record hold in slalom and jump. He's been selected as IWWF Male Athlete of the Year, USA-AWSWS Male Athlete of the Year, the Phil Martin Award (awarded to an individual who has made substantial contributions to the sport of adaptive waterskiing).

Some of his other contributions are, coaching/instructing at learn to ski clinics at the Shepherd Rehabilitation Clinic since 1989, which has in turn resulted in his coaching 8 athletes to National and World competitions. He's coached the Atlanta Disabled Water Ski Team since 1991 and organized the 2014 USA Disabled Water Ski Nationals and USA vs. World (including Canada and Australia).

Bill earned gold and bronze medals in Track & Field at the 1988 Paralympic games. He helped start the Shepherd Center's wheelchair rugby team, which has competed nationally. Bill pioneered the Shepherd Center's information technology department and served as director of information services in 1996 when the Paralympic Games were held in Atlanta. He was awarded the 2015 Blaze Sports Triumph of the Human Spirit Award.

He has served our association as Director, President, Athlete Advisory Council Representative, and the IWSF as the 1996 Disabled Council Paralympic Committee Chair.

Bill's integrity is evidenced by his dedication to the Shepherd Rehabilitation Center which gave him a life after injury. Having known Bill since 1999 I can attest to exemplary character, during that time I attended National and World Championships and witnessed his good sportsman conduct.

Married 24 years this June. Bill worked as an IT Project Manager. He worked at Coca-Cola, Shepherd Center, 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee, then BellSouth who eventually got bought out be AT&T. He retired from AT&T in 2013?

His wife works with SCI, MS, brain injury and other paralyzing diseases as a physical therapist in the clinical research department at Shepherd Center. She Likes to ski, rock climb and cook. Daughter Meredith is 22. She is in grad school at Georgia Tech. She is also a grad research assistant and she will graduate with two masters degrees in International Affairs & Global Media and Cultures. His younger Daughter, Teagan, is 20. She is a junior at the University of Oregon. Her major is biochemistry. She is working on her honors thesis in a biochemistry lab. She is also a member of the UO Rock Climbing Team.

“I have personally had the pleasure of coaching Bill at several world tournaments throughout my career. Bill is truly worthy of his nickname, SuperQuad! After knowing Bill for over 40 years, I can say without a doubt that due to his accomplishments in the sport and his continued impact on others, he is more than worthy of being named to the International Waterski Hall of Fame.” — Phil Martin

“Bill recruited and coached many skiers that made the US Adaptive Water Ski Team over the years. Today he continues to coach the Shepherd Water Ski Team and will have a few skiers qualify for Nationals and a shot at the US Adaptive Water Ski Team for 2022.

From recruiting new skiers to the sport to setting World Records, Bill Furbish has promoted water skiing to an international audience with integrity, character and sportsmanship and is well deserving of the IWWf IHOF Athlete Award.” — Aric Fine

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