Kip Smith Inducted Into NATA Hall of Fame

    Go Hoosiers! Kip Smith
    Go Hoosiers!
    Kip Smith
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 22, 2012

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University head athletics trainer Kip Smith has been to the "big stage" many times throughout his 38 years in the profession, whether it's the 14 bowl games he's experienced while working as the head football trainer for the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University or sitting on the corner of the mat for multiple NCAA Wrestling title matches. While the spotlight is nothing new for Smith, it will shine directly on him June 28th when he formally is inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) Hall of Fame at the organization's Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia in St. Louis, Mo.

    "It means a lot to be recognized for all my efforts and leadership service over the years," said Smith. "I'm excited about it, honored by it and humbled from it all."

    Smith joined the IU athletic staff as the head football trainer in 1983 and assumed the overall head athletic trainer duties in 1987; a role which challenges Smith to balance his efforts between an administrative load and the clinical needs of Hoosier student-athletes.

    "The administrative side is really a full-time position by itself because of managing facilities, personnel, policies and procedures, drug testing, risk management and so on to keep the sports medicine program rolling.

    "But my favorite part of the day is the clinical aspect. It's what I do best, what I enjoy. Working with student-athletes on a daily basis, to me, that's just fun."

    Those student-athletes feel the same about Smith and what he means to their athletic careers. As one walks into Smith's office located in Assembly Hall, they will notice several framed pictures hanging on the wall given to Smith as symbols of appreciation for his hard work and dedication. One example is a portrait displaying former IU wrestler Angel Escobedo on center stage during his 2008 national championship match.

    This particular image is very telling, as Escobedo dons a shoulder brace protecting his left shoulder which had been separated in the semifinals and needed corrective surgery following the season. The handwritten caption says:

    "Thanks for holding my body together."
    --signed, Angel Escobedo

    Four years later, standing outside the very arena (Scottrade Center) he captured that '08 NCAA title with Smith in his corner, a grin stretching from ear-to-ear comes across Escobedo's face as he hears about Smith's upcoming induction into the NATA Hall of Fame for the first time. The '12 London Olympic Hopeful's gratitude for Smith's work is crystal clear.

    "Kip is such an important part of our staff," said Head Wrestling Coach Duane Goldman. "Without him, many of our wrestlers, even All-Americans and NCAA Champions, would never have had the ability to step on the mat.

    "The great thing about Kip is that he understands the level of hard work and commitment it takes to be a successful athlete. He knows when to push them and when to be cautious. I trust him, without question, regarding how to treat our guys."

    Smith becomes the third athletic trainer in Indiana University history to earn induction into the NATA Hall of Fame, joining Dwayne `Spike' Dixon (class of 1970) and John Schrader (1998) in the exclusive group.

    At the bottom of Kip Smith's emails, his signature reads:

    "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their Commitment to Excellence."
    --Vince Lombardi

    Seems fitting.


    The overused cliché states: "{insert nearly any profession title here} is a people's business." But it rings especially true for the athletic training profession. Smith's ability to manage and adapt to numerous different groups of people - administrators, student-athletes, medical staff, coaches, education committees - has led him to earning this national honor. However, Smith is quick to point out the role others have played in helping him earn this recognition from his peers.

    "To make a sports medicine program successful, you do that with people," said Smith. "Yes, facilities and other things help, but it really comes down to the people around you.

    "No one gets to where they are in this stage of their profession, being honored like I am, without the help of great people," continued Smith, eyes welling up. "I sincerely thank everyone for what they've done for me over the years."

    No Kip, we thank you.

    • Joined the Indiana athletic staff as head athletic football trainer in 1983 and assumed the overall head athletic trainer duties in 1987.

    • A native of Mentone, Ind., Smith graduated from Indiana State University in 1973 and went on to obtain his master's degree from the University of Arizona with an athletic training specialization.

    • Active in his field outside the university, Smith has coordinated many Cramer Student Athletics Training workshops which educate and promote the profession to high school students. He served on the NATA Ethics Committee for 13 years and currently on the Board of Directors of the NATA Research and Education Foundation. He also serves as a member of the Big Ten sports medicine committee and served his alma mater on the Health and Human Performance Advisory Board at Indiana State University. In addition, Smith has been involved with the Indiana Athletic Trainer's Association for 20 years serving in different leadership capacities and was President from 1998-2000. He also served on the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association Executive Council as the Indiana Representative and Vice President. He has received the NATA Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award, the GLATA Golden Pinnacle Award (district top award) and has been inducted into the IATA Hall of Fame.

    • Smith and his wife, Debbie, have one daughter, Stacey, a son, Jason, and three grandchildren.




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