Sayers "Bud" Miller Distinguished Educator Award

This award honors the first chair of the NATA Professional Education Committee, Sayers "Bud" Miller, who was a distinguished educator. The objective of this award is to recognize individuals who follow his example and exemplify excellence in the field of athletic training education. This award recognizes individuals who excel in promoting athletic training education beyond the local level through teaching, service and scholarship on athletic training issues.


Candidate Requirements and Criteria

Individuals must meet the following minimum requirements to be nominated for the award:

  1. Current certified member of NATA in good standing.
  2. Recognition as a member of a teaching faculty in athletic training for at least 10 years
  3. Recognition for service at the state, regional or national level in professional organizations concerned with the athletic training profession
  4. A minimum of 10 years of contributions to athletic training education


Candidates who meet the minimum requirements will be evaluated based on the criteria below. Where appropriate, each criterion is followed by examples. The list of examples is not exhaustive.

Criterion: Service to professional organizations.

  • Positions (elected/appointed) held at the state, district or national level

  • Positions (elected/appointed) held at the state, regional or national level of other professional organizations

  • Speaking engagements at the community, state, regional or national levels
  • Professional memberships
  • Other appropriate items


Criterion: Contributions to the field of athletic training education beyond the classroom or individual institutions.

  • Educational consultant work

  • Research activity

  • Other appropriate items


Criterion: Evidence of published manuscripts, books and/or formal presentations concerned with issues in athletic training.


Criterion: College/university work and service.

  • Courses developed and taught
  • Programs or curricula development
  • Educational administration and leadership
  • Thesis/dissertation involvement
  • Other appropriate items


Criterion: Overall impact on athletic training education.

  • Impact on students

  • Impact on the structure and delivery of athletic training education

  • Impact on athletic training education field of study


The chair of the NATA Executive Council for Education is not eligible for nomination.


Application Guidelines

  1. The nomination can be made by any athletic trainer, student, administrator or faculty member of a college/university.
  2. Each nominator is responsible for compiling a dossier supporting the nomination. The materials should include:
    1. Three letters of support for the candidate’s nomination. One letter can be from the nominator and one may be from a student.
    2. The candidate’s curriculum vitae.
    3. A summary statement of the candidate’s contributions as they relate to the candidate’s impact on athletic training education
    4. Each candidate will be rated by the Distinguished Educator Award Selection Group based on the criteria that are listed in the candidate requirements and criteria area. Therefore, when compiling the dossier for your candidate, those criteria should be supported as much as possible by your paperwork. 
  3. No more than two candidates will be selected in a calendar year.
  4. Once nominated, the candidate's dossier will be kept on file for a two-year period and considered both years, if not selected in the first year.
  5. The award doesn’t need to be given every year if there isn’t a candidate deemed qualified for the award.
  6. All candidates are reviewed by members of the Sayers “Bud” Miller Award Selection Group, who are appointed by the Executive Council for Education. This selection group is comprised primarily of past winners of the award. The candidates will be judged on a rating scale relative to the criteria listed under the candidate criteria section.
  7. The award will be presented at the subsequent NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. 


All recommendations, including all materials identified in Section II of the Application Guidelines above must be complete and submitted, by mail or email, to the Executive Council for Education no later than March 8. Submit nominations to

Dr. Sayers "Bud" Miller, after whom the award is named, was the driving force behind the development of professional athletic training education. He served as the chairman of the NATA Professional Education Committee from its inception in 1968, through 1980. He was a prolific writer, researcher and lecturer in the field of athletic training. Miller received his bachelor's and master's degrees in Physical Education from Purdue University and his certificate in Physical Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a doctorate degree in Education at Stanford University. Dr. Miller was the head athletic trainer at Morehead State College (1957-1958), Ball State University (1958-1969) and the University of Washington (1969-1974). He served as the director of the athletic training curriculum and as the head basketball athletic trainer at The Pennsylvania State University from 1974 until his death in 1980. Bud was also selected as an athletic trainer for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid. Dr. Miller was inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame in 1980.