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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 25, 2011) – Ron “Doc” VanDam, the University of Central Missouri’s legendary former head athletic trainer and professor emeritus of physical education, was honored by UCM Saturday with the dedication of the Ron “Doc” VanDam Athletic Training Facility, located in the renovated Morrow-Garrison complex on the UCM campus.
Friends, colleagues and family joined VanDam at the dedication ceremony in the new facility, located in the lower level of the renovated Garrison Gymnasium. VanDam also was recognized at halftime of the Mules basketball game at the UCM Multipurpose Building Saturday afternoon. The state-of-the-art facility provides a total of 6,000 square feet of space shared by the athletic training program serving UCM athletes and the academic program serving students receiving degrees in athletic training.
The dedication recognized VanDam’s 30 years of service as head athletic trainer for UCM athletics. Following his arrival at UCM in 1969, VanDam assumed a split assignment between athletics and academics. He developed the athletic training program into one recognized throughout the country while developing and expanding the Athletic Training Education Program into one of the nation’s premier degree programs for preparing future generations of athletic trainers.
UCM President Charles Ambrose noted that the dedication of faculty and staff members like VanDam provides the foundation for great universities.
“It’s appropriate that we dedicate this new facility as a new foundation for a great program that has brought together many aspects of the community, including athletes, faculty and the local medical community,” he said. “Great programs such as this leap from the shoulders of great educators and professionals like Ron VanDam, and they provide the foundation for future successes for student athletes and athletic professionals.”
Among those congratulating VanDam were Walt Hicklin, president of the UCM Board of Governors and former UCM Mules football coach; Patty Dinges, former UCM athletic trainer; Robert Russell, former member of the UCM Board of Governors and longtime friend of VanDam, and Jim Moore, chair of the Department of Kinesiologyand former student of VanDam.
Hicklin noted that VanDam not only served his athletes as a trainer, but also as a father confessor.
“They knew they could talk to Doc if they needed to, and many time that allowed the coaching staff to head of problems before they developed.”
“We’re here today in recognition of the time and devotion of Doc and all teachers who ask for an opportunity to serve students,” Russell said. He added that Van Dam not only started the UCM athletic training program, but saved it when accreditation was in doubt by working with the UCM administration to develop the programs and faculty needed to maintain the accreditation.
“As a trainer, Doc treated the whole athlete,” Russell said. “We’re here because Doc is a giver, not a taker,” Russell said. “Student athletes always felt better after they went to see him, and he is proud of his graduates.”
Moore noted that VanDam taught him many things during the years, but the most important was “how to be a great person, a great friend, and a great professional.”
VanDam received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University, Upland, Ind.; master’s degree from Ball State University; education specialist degree from UCM and doctorate from the University of Utah. Following his arrival at UCM, he played a key role in establishing the master’s degree program in athletic training while developing the UCM athletic training program into one of finest in the nation.
He served as president of the Missouri Athletic Trainers’ Association and as a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. He was inducted into the Missouri Athletic Trainers’ Hall of Fame in 1988, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, the District V Mid-American Athletic Trainers’ Hall of Fame in 1997, and the UCM Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
During his tenure at UCM, VanDam was an integral part of 78 MIAA championships, 41 MIAA Conference Tournament Championships, 26 NCAA Regional Championships and three NCAA National Championships. He also served as a program associate for the Justin Sports Medicine Team covering professional rodeo and bull riding.