Dean Geary, a WKU alum who currently serves as the Treasurer of the KATS, became just the 13th member of the KATS Hall of Fame and the third WKU alum honored after Artie McGuffin and Bill “Doc E” Edwards. Geary currently serves as the athletic trainer at West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Ky., and recently ended a 27-year teaching career at the school as well.
WKU Team Physician Emeritus Dr. Craig Beard, also an alum of the university, was named the KATS Sports Medicine Person of the Year. Beard was a member of the Hilltoppers’ football team from 1975-77 before returning to WKU as a medical consultant in 1987. After 24 years of service as WKU’s athletics lead physician, Beard retired in December 2011 but continues to practice orthopaedics at Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates.
Finally, Mike Gaddie, WKU’s current Associate Director of Athletic Training, was honored with the organization’s College Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. Gaddie, who has been a member of WKU’s staff since August 2000, earned his master’s degree in exercise science from WKU in 2006 and serves as the primary athletic trainer for the Hilltoppers’ men’s basketball program.
In addition to the KATS honors, Bill Edwards was recently announced as one of three honorees that will join WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni during Homecoming festivities this fall. WKU’s current Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, Edwards has served as the Hilltoppers’ head athletic trainer since 1983 and also serves as a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport.
The Kentucky Athletic Trainers Society was organized in 1983 following passage of the Athletic Training Practice Act in 1978 and is open to all athletic trainers practicing in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KATS works to increase awareness and education of parents, coaches, officials and patients regarding issues related to athletic health care and work place wellness and health care.