History of MSU Athletic Training


Michigan State University's Athletic Training program has been supervised and directed by five head athletic trainers throughout the past eighty years. The head athletic trainers are Jack Heppinstall, who worked from 1914 until 1959, Gayle Robinson, who was the head athletic trainer from 1959 to 1973, Clint Thompson from 1973 until 1985, and Jeff Monroe from 1985 through July, 2013. Sally Nogle was appointed in July, 2013 as the current head athletic trainer at Michigan State Univversity. Gayle Robinson continued his work in the athletic training room at Michigan State as a full time staff athletic trainer from 1973 until 1982.

Jack Heppinstall approached the Michigan Agricultural College in 1914, as a 23 year-old British immigrant, to become the first head athletic trainer in its history. Jack left Michigan State temporarily in 1948 to return to his native England as an athletic trainer for the United States boxing and wrestling teams in the Olympics in London. Jack Heppinstall worked at Michigan State for a span of 45 years serving under the guidance of six MSU presidents, five athletic directors, and three team physicians. Heppinstall was selected president of the National Athletic Trainers' Association in 1939 and inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Association Hall of Fame in 1962 as one of the 26 charter members of the NATA.

Gayle Robinson became the only assistant athletic trainer to Jack Heppinstall in 1946, prior the becoming the head athletic trainer at Michigan State University in 1959. He was named Michigan State's head athletic trainer until 1973, whereupon he remained as a staff athletic trainer until 1982. Gayle worked the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany and was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame in 1976.

Clint Thompson served as an assistant athletic trainer under Gayle Robinson from 1964 to 1970 before moving to Colorado State University. Clint returned to Michigan State University in 1973 as the head athletic trainer until 1985. Clint's full time staff of athletic trainers included Gayle Robinson, Ronnie Barnes, and Sue Schneider. Clint's staff consisted of three full time assistants, four graduate assistant athletic trainers, and thirteen students. Over the next several years, Kathy Heck was hired onto the staff to replace Sue Schneider, with William Hyncik selected in the fall 1980 to replace Ronnie Barnes.

The full time staff began the integral mission of developing the apprenticeship program's educational preparation with clinical skill development for the undergraduate and graduate student athletic trainers preparing for the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Certification Examination. His professional experiences with the NATA Journal of Athletic Training initiated a clinical environment for research, inquisitiveness, and professional development among his full time staff, graduate students, and undergraduate student athletic trainers.

Jeff Monroe was hired in 1985 to supervise the Spartan athletic training program, while working directly with the Football program. Jeff inherited Sally Nogle and David Carrier as full time athletic training staff members with the addition of Glenn Porter. Jeff's immediate staff included three full time assistant athletic trainers, four graduate assistant athletic trainers, and undergraduate student athletic trainers. Tom Mackowiak was hired in 1987 replacing Glenn Porter with Holly Kasavana hired onto the full time staff in 1989.

Under the guidance of Sally Nogle, the Spartan student athletic training program had begun to incorporate an aggressive philosophical emphasis involving hands-on therapeutic rehabilitation and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques. During the late 1980's and early 1990's, the undergraduate and graduate student athletic training programs recruiting efforts and educational course structure were increased, standardized, and implemented. Michigan State University's internship program's educational philosophy continued to emphasize critical thinking, academic course work, competency based education, clinical exposures, hands-on experiential learning, and diverse clinical rotational opportunities. In the late 1990's, Sally Nogle began to structure the preparation and review of Michigan State's educational course requirements per NATA/CAAHEP guidelines, while evaluating the self-study structures needed for the transition to an educational accredited student athletic training program. The athletic training staff was increased to 7.5 full-time certified athletic trainers, 4-8 certified graduate students, and 45 undergraduate students completing the NATA athletic training internship requirements. Tory Lindley, Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, LouAnne Jefferson, and Lianna Hadden were hired as full-time staff to improve clinical and sports supervision opportunities.

Dr. John Powell was hired in 1999 to direct Michigan State University's pursuit of an accredited undergraduate athletic training program, while assisting Jeff Monroe and Sally Nogle with educational and research efforts of the graduate athletic training program. Dr. Powell began the communication, transformation, and implementation of the institutional processes necessary for the standardized educational accreditation procedures. The Undergraduate Athletic Training Program Accreditation Candidacy began in Fall of 2000. Dr. Kavin Tsang was hired in the Fall 2001 to direct, implement, and supervise the progress of the undergraduate student athletic training educational program toward full accreditation. The Undergraduate Athletic Training Program was awarded CAAHEP Accreditation in the spring of 2003. In the fall of 2005, Dr. Tracey Covassin was employed as an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Director of the Undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program. Also in the fall of 2005, Kim Kittleman was hired as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and the Clinical Coordinator for the undergraduate program. Brian Bratta began his role of Clinical Coordinator of the educational undergraduate program in the fall of 2007 replacing Kim Kittleman.

In 2003, Michigan State University's educational athletic training program received CAHEP accreditation and began as a specialization under MSU's Department of Kinesiology's major. Shortly thereafter, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE) began requiring all Athletic Training Major's to be identified on a student's transcript in order for an undergraduate athletic training program to become and remain accredited. Therefore, in the spring of 2007, Dr. Tracey Covassin completed all the necessary requests, forms, and university committee recommendations for final approval in establishing the Bachelor of Science Degree in Athletic Training at Michigan State University.

As the undergraduate program was developing, Dr. Powell shifted his attention to developing a post-certification graduate program in athletic training. The Masters Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in athletic training began in the fall of 2000. As the program continued to add more opportunities for masters degree students, the Department of Kinesiology approved the implementation of a doctoral program for athletic trainers. With the awarding of the doctoral degree to Sally Nogle (2001) and Tom Mackowiak (2005), the MSU graduate program now has four post graduate educators/researchers on the East Lansing campus. In July 2006 the graduate education program was approved as a Post Certification Graduate Education Program by the National Athletic Trainers' Association. The early stages of the athletic training program's restructuring began with the hiring of Quinton Sawyer, who was assigned to Men's Basketball in October, 2011, replacing Tom Mackowiak who moved into his new role of Clinical Education Coordinator. Brian Bratta returned to clinical settingfull time and was assigned to Baseball in the Jenison Field House Athletic Training Facility.

Salina Halliday and David Jager were recently appointed to their current assistant athletic trainer roles in 2013. Salina was hired and assigned the oversee coverage of Softball and Dave is involved in assisting with the Michigan State University Spartan Football squad. David Carrier was elevated to the Associate Athletic Trainer's position during the restructuring of the Sports Medicine and Performance Department.

In the Fall of 2015, several changes were being implemented within the athletic training clinical and educational settings. Dr. Chris Kuenze was hired to replace Dr. John Powell as the athletic training's graduate advisor and program director. Dr. Kuenze will work with the advisement of graduate students, assist with teaching responsibilities within the Athletic Training educational program, and focus on his research endeavors. Kelly Stobba was hired to replace Lianna Hadden with Volleyball and oversight of Cross Country and Track and Field.in Jenison. Lianna shifted positions into a preceptor role within our IM West AT Facility, Insurance Coordinator, and Nutrional Consultant. Matt Moreau was hired as a replacment for Brian Bratta. Matt's clinical assignment in Jenison is with Baseball and oversight of Men's Soccer.

The Fall of 2016 saw the addtion of two clinical athletic trainers and preceptors. Quinton Sawyer was replaced by Nick Richey as the men's basketball athletic trainer and Renee Kleszcznski as the full time staff athletic training member directly overseeing Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track and Field. A new Athletic Training Clinical Lab located in the IM Circle Kinesiology Building was completed in late September.



Undergraduate/Graduate Athletic Training Education Program
105 IM Circle
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-2010/517-432-5018