The Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society Hall of Fame is Dedicated to the Pioneers of our Profession in the State of Kansas, and to Our Colleagues who have served the Profession, their Patients, Workplaces, and the State of Kansas, with Distinction.
Lawrence “Porky” Morgan
Head Athletic Trainer at Kansas State University from 1951 until his death in 1980. He fell ill while covering a K-State vs. Colorado basketball game.
Porky Morgan served as Athletic Trainer at St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa in 1939, at the Citadel in 1940, and again at St. Ambrose from 1949-51. He was also the Athletic Trainer for the Tri-City Blackhawks Basketball team from 1949-50, and for the United States Pan American Games Team in 1967.
He served as an NATA District 5 officer, and as President of the NATA.
Morgan was veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II from 1941-46, and was discharged as a Captain. He was a native of Moline, Illinois.
Charles “Chuck” Cramer
As a pole vaulter and pharmacy student at Kansas University in 1912, Gardner, Kansas native Chuck Cramer formulated a liniment to treat his own sprained ankle. He later bought the drug store in Gardner. As a sideline, he prepared the liniment he had invented and sold it to local athletic teams. This venture became so successful, that he started Cramer Chemical Co. In Gardner in 1920.
Cramer was a founding member of the NATA, and was one of five Athletic Trainers (including brother Frank Cramer), at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Frank Cramer attended the University of Kansas. Following his time at K.U., he entered the building supply business until 1929, when Frank moved back to his native Gardner, Kansas to help his brother Chuck run the recently founded Cramer Chemical Company.
He was one of five Athletic Trainers (including brother Chuck Cramer), at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. For sixteen years, he served on the Medical Committee of the United States Olympics to select Athletic Trainers and Physicians.
In June, 1960, the NATA elected Frank Cramer as their first honorary member. He was a veteran of World War I, and was discharged a First Lieutenant.
Assistant and Head Athletic Trainer at Wichita State University from 1962
1970. In 1970 he died in the aftermath of an airplane crash which claimed the lives of most of the Wichita State Football Team.
Football players who survived the crash tell how the badly burned, 31 year old Reeves lead them down the side of the mountain where the plane had crashed, talking and joking the whole time in order to keep their minds off of the tragedy they had just experienced.
Reeves was a native of Concordia, Kansas before attending Wichita State where he earned his Bachelor of Arts. Tom immediately assumed the Assistant Athletic Trainer position, and eventually became Head Athletic Trainer.
Doc Needham was the Head Athletic Trainer at Wichita State University from 1945 through 1958, when he died following a stroke suffered while covering a basketball game between Wichita State and Oregon State.
He was the Athletic Trainer for the Class A Wichita Indians for two seasons.
Dean “Deaner” Nesmith
Dean Nesmith was the Head Athletic Trainer at The University of Kansas from 1938
1983. He died of cancer in 1985. His tenure was the longest of any Big 8 Athletic Trainer.
He was a three year football letterman for the Jayhawks, and played one year of professional football for the old New York Yankees before completing his degree at K.U. In 1937.
The Belleville, Kansas native was the Athletic Trainer for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, and for the Big 8 All-Star Basketball team which toured Yugoslavia in 1974.
Al Ortolani was Head Athletic Trainer at Pittsburg State University from 1955 until his retirement in 1995, earning his Bachelors and Masters degrees at Pittsburg prior to becoming Head Athletic Trainer.
Al was Athletic Trainer for three U.S. Olympic Swim Teams, in 1976, 1980, and 1984. He was also an athletic trainer to the U.S. Team at the World University Games, Pan Am Games, World Cup, and World Championships. He also served as athletic trainer for many other major swim events.
Ortolani was Pittsburg’s first full time baseball coach from 1962-72, winning conference championships in 1965 and 1966. He earned the Central Intercollegiate Conference “Coach of the Year” award in 1965.
Al Ortolani is a retired member of the Joint Commission on Competetive Safeguards and the Medical Aspects of Sports.
John Baxter has been the Head Athletic Trainer at Emporia State University since 1966. Prior to his time at Emporia, he was a teacher and coach at Garfield High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and prior to that, an assistant athletic trainer at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
John is a past president of the Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society. He has been strongly involved in the legislative credentialing effort for athletic trainers in the State of Kansas. Baxter has also been the recipient of numerous professional honors, including multiple awards presented by the NATA, The Mid-America Athletic Trainers’ Association, the NAIA, Emporia State University, and numerous recognitions by civic groups and teacher’s organizations.
Jim Sperry was instrumental in the legislative effort that would lead to Registration for athletic trainers in the State of Kansas. He was a past president of the Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Association, and the Kansas Physician Assistant Academy, and was appointed by the Governor to the Kansas Athletic Training Council from 1995-2000.
Jim worked closely with Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, as a certified athletic trainer. He earned a BHS in Physician Assistant in 1984, from Wichita State University. His strong sense of professional responsibility would lead him to work tirelessly in the legislative arena in the interests of both athletic trainers and physician’s assistants.
Jim’s life was ended tragically in a February 2000 in a single car accident while driving home from serving as an examiner for the NATABOC National Certification Exam.
At the present, Lynn Bott is the Head Athletic Trainer at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas. Prior to coming to Baker University in 2005, Lynn served the University of Kansas first as an Assistant Athletic Trainer, and then as the Director of Athletic Trainer Services from 1976 through 2004.
Lynn has been extremely involved professionally on the state, district and national levels. He has served as President of the Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society, and the Mid-America Athletic Trainers’ Association. At the national level, Lynn served on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Directors as the District 5 Director. He was honored in 2005 by the NATA with the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award. Athletic Trainers in the State of Kansas will always be indebted to Lynn for his hard work and dedication in helping get legislation passed allowing for the registration of Athletic Trainers in Kansas. Having lived and worked nearly his entire life in Kansas, Lynn has been instrumental in promoting the profession of Athletic Training in the State of Kansas throughout his professional career.
Steve Barrett, MS, LAT, ATC
Steve served as President of the Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society and has held many offices and chaired many committees at the state and district level including MAATA Board of Directors. During his term as the KATS president he was instrumental in the legislative effort that licensed Athletic Trainers in the State of Kansas in April 2005, established two KATS scholarships, and organized EMS Seminars as fundraisers to promote the athletic training profession. He is also a member of the Kansas Concussion Partnership. Steve received the Kansas State Educational Excellence Award in 1990, Outstanding Faculty Award in 1991, NISOD Master Teacher Excellence Award in 1992 and was the 2006 KATS Athletic Trainer of the Year. Steve was inducted into the Broncbuster Hall of Fame at Garden City Community College in 2010 and the Mid America Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2017. Steve was a recipient of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Service Award in 2013 and has served as a member of the NATA since 1980. Many young high school students have become interested in our profession through the longest running Student Athletic Training Camp in Kansas which Steve began and has held annually since 1987.
Steve Barrett received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Creighton University in 1984, and completed his Masters of Science degree from Indiana State University with a specialization in Athletic Training. Steve’s athletic training career began in 1984 as an Athletic Trainer with West Vigo High School, before accepting the Head Athletic Trainer and Associate Professor position at Saint Joseph College in 1985. After two years at Saint Joseph, Steve served as the Head Athletic Trainer, Wellness Director, and Instructor at Garden City Community College for six years before joining Dr. Michael Baughman in starting Sandhilll Orthopaedic & Sportsmedicine in 1993, where he served as Director of Rehabilitation & Athletic Training for twenty years. Steve served as the Clinic Manager at Kansas Orthopeadic Center at Sandhill for two years, then moved to St. Catherine Hospital, where he continues to work as the Sports Medicine Supervisor.
Brad was instrumental in working with the Kansas Legislature to move athletic trainers from registration to licensure in 2004. Brad served on the KATS Executive Board for over 9 years from 2003 – 2011, as the Member at Large, President-Elect, President and Past President. He was also named the KATS Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2008.
Brad received his BS in Athletic Training from Emporia State University in 1983 with Magna Cum Laude Honors. Following his undergraduate training, Brad was accepted to the University of Arizona where he received his MS with emphasis in Athletic Training in 1984. Since graduation he has become a published author in the sports medicine field, and has been a clinical preceptor with Washburn University for over a decade. Brad’s strong sense of professional responsibility lead him to work tirelessly for the State of Kansas in the legislative arena, and as a mentor for future athletic training professionals.
Rex started his athletic trainer career after being injured playing football at Derby High School (DHS) in 1963. He began learning about athletic training reading Cramer Chemical Companies Student Trainer Manual. He then attended Wichita State University (WSU) in 1965 as an athletic training student and lettered on the track team. He graduated with his BS in Physical Education in 1970 and joined the Army Reserves. While on active duty he was notified his mentor and boss, Tom Reeves, was killed in the plane crash of the WSU Football Team in October 1970.
Rex was then hired as the Head Athletic Trainer for WSU in February of 1971 where he continued to work for both the men’s and women’s athletic teams and teaching in the physical education department until 1989.
In 1976 Rex began helping Derby High school covering athletic events and working with their athletic teams when he was available. In 1989 Rex began working for the Army Reserves as a civil service employee and continued to be the athletic trainer for Derby HS.
In 1995 Rex was hired by Via Christi-St Francis Hospital to manage their newly formed Sports Medicine Outreach Program. He supervised five athletic trainers who covered 10 high schools and other athletic events.
In 1996 Rex was hired by Derby Family Med Center as the Director of Derby Sports Rehab and Therapy where he supervised 4 physical therapists and continued to work as the Athletic Trainer for Derby HS.
Rex currently is the Director of the Derby Family Med Center Sports Medicine Outreach Program and Athletic Trainer for Derby HS.
During Rex’s 50 plus years of athletic training he has had the opportunity to work on committees for KATS including helping write the by-laws of KATS when the organization was forming. He was Chairman of the Reimbursement Committee for KATS.
He was a member of the Curriculum Committee Department of Health Physical Education and Recreation at WSU. Also, was a Member of the Board of Directors WSU Letterman’s Club & Vice President.
He has done numerous speaking engagements on athletic training and physical education to include speaking at KAHPERD State Conventions and Coaches Conventions.
Rex has had the opportunity to work with both the men’s and women’s Olympic Volleyball teams, Olympic gymnasts from Bella Karoli’s Gymnastic Club. He has hosted numerous athletic training workshops to include meetings for KATS.
Rex has been an NATA Certification Examiner, worked as a volunteer at NATA Conventions, is a published author in the physical education and athletic training field.
Rex has been a preceptor for Southwestern College and Wichita State University since 2004.
Earned his master degree Magna Cum Laude in Sports Administration 1987 WSU
While doing his athletic training duties, Rex continued with a career in the Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel after 38 years of service, receiving numerous awards including the Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal. He is a very active member of the Derby Presbyterian Church.
Rex has been a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association since 1969, member of the Mid America Athletic Trainers Association since 1974 and Kansas Athletic Trainers Society since 1979.