Award Recipients Recognized at VATEC 2021

April 15, 2021 by Beth Sitzler

Each year, the NATA Executive Council for Education recognizes members who exemplify excellence in the field of athletic training education through the Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award. Named in honor of the first chair of the NATA Professional Education Committee, the award recognizes those who have excelled in promoting athletic training education beyond the local level through service and publishing on athletic training issues.

The 2019 and 2020 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award recipients will be honored and recognized throughout the live 2021 Virtual Athletic Training Educators’ Conference April 29-May 1. Keep reading to learn more about the award recipients:


Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2019 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award Recipient

Jay Hertel, PhD, AT, FNATA, is the Joe H. Gieck Professor of Sports Medicine at the University of Virginia, where he is also chair of the Department of Kinesiology, has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and co-directs the Exercise & Sports Injury Laboratory. He teaches courses on evidence-based practice and clinical and translational research in the Master of Science in athletic training program and directs the doctoral program in sports medicine. He is a licensed athletic trainer, an accomplished scientist who has authored more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Athletic Training. He holds fellow status in the American College of Sports Medicine, NATA and the National Academy of Kinesiology. Hertel’s research focuses on the prevention and management of lower extremity athletic injuries using diverse methods ranging from clinical biomechanics to epidemiology. Teaching students in and out of the classroom has always been the favorite part of his job as a faculty member.


Carl Mattacola, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2019 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award Recipient

Carl Mattacola, PhD, ATC, FNATA, joined the UNC Greensboro School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) as the dean June 1, 2019. He came to HHS from the University of Kentucky where he was the associate dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs of the College of Health Sciences. Previous administrative appointments include division director of graduate athletic training education, director of rehabilitation sciences doctoral program, director of graduate studies – division of athletic training, and acting associate dean for research, all at the University of Kentucky. Mattacola is also a professor in the Department of Kinesiology. His research has focused on neuromuscular, postural and functional considerations in the treatment and rehabilitation of lower extremity injury especially following surgery. He received the William B. Sturgill Award for outstanding contributions to graduate education and The College of Health Sciences Kingston Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kentucky.


Greg Gardner, EdD, ATC, LAT

2020 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award Recipient

Greg Gardner, EdD, ATC, LAT, is a clinical professor of athletic training at the University of Tulsa. He completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming and holds a master’s degree from the University of Arizona. In 1995, he completed his doctoral work at the University of Southern Mississippi. Gardner has extensive experience as an athletic trainer and has been a certified athletic trainer for more than 35 years. His career includes work at the high school, small college and major college level. He served on the Joint Review Committee for Athletic Training and remained with that group as the transition to the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education was completed. In November 2008, Gardner was elected as the first president of the CAATE and began serving in that capacity in August 2009. Gardner served as the U.S. vice president of the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy. Gardner has served as a consultant to numerous athletic training education programs in the U.S. as well as internationally in Jordan and Ireland. He currently serves as an accreditation reviewer for Athletic Rehabilitators and Therapists of Ireland. He received the outstanding teaching award for the Oxley College of Health Sciences in 2018 and the outstanding teaching award for the University of Tulsa in 2019. He was named Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer in 2010 by NATA and was inducted into the Mid America Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2013. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and NATA Hall of Fame in 2020.


Kim Peer, EdD, ATC, FNATA

2020 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award Recipient

Dr. Peer is a Full Professor at Kent State University and holds an adjunct appointment at Northeast Ohio College of Medicine and KSU College of Podiatric Medicine.  She holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration with a Cognate in Health Care Management.  Kimberly served as the Editor-in-Chief for the Athletic Training Education Journal and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Ethics Committee as well as the Governor appointed Ohio licensure board.  She currently serves on the NATA Educationalists Cabinet and NATA Committee on Professional Ethics. As a Fellow of the NATA, Dr. Peer has published and presented extensively on the international and national levels on professional ethics and has co-authored textbooks on Professional Ethics and Fundamentals of athletic training. Kimberly has been lauded with national, regional, and state level awards for her contributions to the profession and athletic training education including the Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award, OATA HOF, and NATA Most Distinguished.