For the first time ever, American Inductees to The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation Hall of Fame will be recognized and celebrated in their home country.
U.S. adaptive water ski athlete Bill Furbish and legendary water ski coach Jim McCormick, who passed away in 2020, will be formally enshrined at the 39th Annual USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
The IWWF International Hall of Fame recognizes, appreciates, and understands the incredible contribution each recipient has made to their discipline, their community, their clubs, federations, confederations, the world, and the IWWF.
The IWWF Hall of Fame can be seen in its entirety in our museum in Davenport, Florida.
Bill Furbish is an 11-time National Champion, and currently holds National Records in slalom, tricks & jump. He competed in 9 World Championships, set 5 World Records, and is the current record holder in slalom and jump.
Bill’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 Center since 1989, which has, in turn, resulted in his coaching eight 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 the 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 the USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports association as Director, President, Athlete Advisory Council Representative, and the IWSF (now IWWF) 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. It is because of the above achievements that Bill Furbish is today being inducted into the IWWF International Hall of Fame.
Jim McCormick was one of the first dedicated coaches of water ski champions starting back in the 60s. He started with a ski school on the Lake of the Ozarks and was a national-level competitor in all events until his competitive career was cut short by a knee injury. He realized that in order to further his ideals as a coach, he would have to move from his native Missouri to central Florida in 1967 where he could coach year-round to a growing international list of competitors.
Jim’s first ski school in Florida was located on Lake Dexter, close to Cypress Gardens. His reputation as a coach quickly blossomed and his ski center swiftly outgrew the confines of Winter Haven.
Jim found an ideal spot in Seffner, Florida to develop his three-lake site, which he designed with the help of Ed Brazil. But make no mistake, Jim was the visionary that foresaw the rise of international skiing as it is today.
McCormick ski school in Seffner was developed as a three-lake competition site and was soon host to the AWSA Southern Regionals in 1983. Since then, his site has hosted the Pan American Championships, the 1997 USA Team Trials and continues to this day to host numerous international R/L tournaments each year.
Recently, the ski school has expanded, and the third lake is now dedicated to cable skiing and wakeboarding.
Jim McCormick was the first to develop beveled edges and bottom grooves on tricks. He pioneered the movement to shorter tricks as well.
Jim invented numerous training techniques in all three events. He was the first coach to utilize video instruction and used that technique effectively to elevate the skiing of his students.
Jim continued to develop his coaching skills and was a mentor to some of the best skiers in the world for decades. Jim was instrumental in the development of many water ski coaches during his decades long career.