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.