The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) has selected Bill Holcomb, associate professor and director of the Athletic Training Program at The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Human Performance and Recreation, to receive a 2015 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in June at the NATA annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
The award acknowledges NATA members who have involved themselves in leadership, community service, advocacy and exceptional professional activities as an athletic trainer.
In late January 2015, Holcomb received a phone call notifying him of his honorable selection from Chuck Kimmel, chair of the honors and awards committee of the NATA.
Mike Miller, the graduate athletic training program director at Western Michigan University, nominated Holcomb. Holcomb then received recommendation letters from former USM Athletic Training Program Director, Jim Gallaspy and from his doctoral graduate assistant Cody Bremner.
The NATA Honors and Awards Committee selects those who receive the award.
Nationally, 70 people received one of each of the titles: Hall of Fame, Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer, Athletic Trainer Service Award, NATA Fellows, President’s Challenge Award, Gail Weldon Award of Excellence, Honorary Members, Eve Becker Doyle Leadership Award.
The 2015 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award will be presented to 17 other recipients.
“I was very pleased and honored to receive such a nice recognition of my 24 years as an athletic training professor,” Holcomb said upon learning of his achievement. “I was anxious to share the news with my students and with friends and family.”
As the director of the Athletic Training Program at USM’s School of Human Performance and Recreation, Holcomb has attained this selection by the NATA through the athletic training program, which started 40 years ago with successful graduates.
However, enrollment was suspended for a few years due to some significant challenges.
Holcomb believes he was hired to help restore the program and believes his work at USM has likely contributed to the award. He was also selected because of his major contributions in the areas of teaching and research.
Holcomb has successfully published a textbook and contributed to several textbook chapters, and he has more than 40 papers published in journals. He has served on the editorial board for the Journal of Athletic Training and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research as well as many other journals.
“I feel that teaching is most important, but the profession is advanced through research that provides evidence on which we base our practice,” Holcomb said. “It is difficult to make an impact in both areas but that has been my professional goal.”
Eligibility that Holcomb qualified for include being a NATA member in good standing, having 20 years of BOC certification and 20-year membership in NATA. Holcomb has been a NATA member since 1988 and has served as the NATA’s liaison to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 10 years and has showcased his research at 17 national NATA conferences.
“I would like to thank Tim Agan who was my athletic training mentor, my Dad who was my biggest fan and my students who continue to motivate me to work hard,” Holcomb said.
He has been involved in other professional services including being vice chair of the NSCA Certification Commission and vice president of the NSCA Board of Directors. In 2008, he was named a Fellow for NSCA for his research and service contributions.
Holcomb has presented nationally and internationally, including a lecture series at the Chinese Olympic Committee’s Sports Trainer Workshop and at the World Scientific Congress on Golf in St Andrews, Scotland.