NATA Hall of Fame Class of 2024: Mentors

May 21, 2024 by Kristin Carroll
NATA Hall of Fame 2024: Mentors

The NATA Hall of Fame is the apex of member recognition, celebrating a select group of athletic trainers who have advanced the profession and exemplified what it means to live a life of service.

More than a jacket, plaque and accolades, the NATA Hall of Fame is an honor bestowed on those who have dedicated countless hours honing their skills, mentoring the next generation of ATs and leaving a lasting legacy in the athletic training profession.

The May NATA News features the class of 2024, highlighting their careers and volunteer achievements, while giving insight into their lives as leaders in the profession.

The class of 2024 will be inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame during the 75th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in New Orleans.

In this post, the inductees discuss their mentors and personal influences.


Douglas J. Casa, PhD, ATC, FNAK

Without question, my parents. No one else comes close. My mom taught me that every day is a new beginning to chase your dreams and have a positive impact on others – and to just have fun. What happened yesterday is behind you, no benefit comes from dwelling on it. She woke up every morning in a good mood. That had a massive influence on me. I wake up every day with a smile, excited for the opportunities that await. My mom did that for me.

My dad taught me that providing for your family is the most important thing you can do as a parent. He always put us first. My two parents and their families had zero college degrees. My two brothers and I ended up with six college degrees. My dad created a home where we could dream of the future we wanted, even though they didn’t have many of the opportunities themselves.


Ray Castle, PhD, LAT, NREMT

I have been truly fortunate to have so many wonderful mentors who took time to lift me up, push me when I needed it the most and hold on to me when I was running too fast or off course. I can never repay the impact of my Louisiana State University mentors: Kathy Osborne-Davis, AT Ret., John Purdy, AT Ret., John Anderson, AT Ret., and Dr. Marty Broussard. They pointed me in a direction and gave me the early tools that significantly impacted my future personal and professional life.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my early supervisors, Jim Murphy, ATC, John Porche, AT Ret., and Donnie Kron, as well as working with R.T. Floyd, ATC, CSCS, as co-chair of the Southeast Athletic Trainers’ AssociationAthletic Training Student Symposium from 2001-14.

 I have also had some other amazing “mentor-friendships” such as MaryBeth Horodyski, EdD, LAT, ATC, Doug May, AT Ret., Mike Wilkinson, MS, ATC, Marisa Brunett, MS, LAT, ATC, Chuck Kimmel,  Mark Laursen, ATC, Chris Troyanos, LAT, ATC, Ron Courson, PT, ATC, NRAEMT, Sue Stanley-Green, MS, LAT, ATC, Greg Gardner, EdD, ATC, Micki Cuppett, EdD, LAT, ATC, Ken Wright, AT Ret., Bob Goodwin, Dave Giardina, Scotti Vermaelen, LAT, PTA, ATC, and Jim Mackie, MEd, LAT, ATC, just to name a few.

Two of these relationships stand out for very different reasons: Jim Gallaspy, AT Ret., and Murray Burch. During my time at the University of Southern Mississippi, Jim was so impactful in not only helping me understand the full breadth and depth of the profession, but where it could go. He also challenged me in ways that I did not know were in me and taught me how to be innovative in didactic and clinical education, professional education and countless clinical pearls. There were countless, “So, Mr. Program Director how would you handle this,” or “Mr. Assistant AT, here is a critical issue impacting the AT profession and how would you fix it?” Unbeknownst to us, he was actually cultivating our own voices in the profession – as SEATA president, District Nine director, etc. – and also pushing all the master’s and doctoral graduate assistants to get engaged in critical issues. He also gave us the playbook on the critical importance of having a cohesive AT curriculum with athletics.

For Murray, I originally met him briefly during my summers in high school when he would travel with his father, an LSU agricultural professor, to my hometown where he conducted cotton research. I then got to know him when I was at LSU taking a KIN 2500 Human Anatomy class, as he was there assisting Dr. Broussard. Murray soon became my first AT friend (even before I was an AT). He passed away due to COVID-19 Dec. 16, 2020. I and countless others could write a novel about him, but in brief, he embodied “kind-humble-servant-heart-friend” and I and many others are better athletic trainers and people because of Murray.


Darryl Patrick Conway, MA, AT, ATC

I have been blessed to have several big mentors in my career who have greatly impacted me in many ways. First and foremost, my parents – Donald and Joyce Conway – from the beginning taught me about work ethic, professionalism, organization, dedication to a career and task and giving back to the community in multiple ways.

Tony Decker, ATC, and Mike “Coach” King from the University of Delaware were inspirational mentors who always provided guidance and critical thinking regarding a multitude of topics and helped shape my career and opened many doors for me. Frank Walters, PhD, LAT, ATC, has always been there for me as someone to talk to, reflect on things and provide career, administrative and leadership advice from several viewpoints. Finally, Mark Wagner, MS, LAT, ATC, gave me my first job in athletic training and has been a constant sounding board, confidant and “brother from another mother” who has always supported my aspirations. All these individuals have always been my biggest fans, but are also not afraid to tell me the truth and tell me that I’m doing something wrong.

Kimberly S. Peer, EdD, AT, FNATA

I have had the privilege of being mentored by outstanding colleagues through the years, so it is hard to just identify a few. My Kent State University mentors, John Faulstick, AT Ret., and Carol Patzwahl-Moss, ATC, and Western Michigan University mentor, Dr. Robert Moss, AT Ret., helped build the foundation for me in the profession. They taught me the value of excellence and professionalism. Gretchen Schlabach, PhD, ATC, Lorin Cartwright, AT Ret., Marje Albohm, AT Ret., Sam Booth, AT Ret., Katie Grove, AT Ret., Pat Aronson, PhD, LAT, ATC, Denise Fandel, AT Ret., and other outstanding women in the profession taught me the value of solid leadership skills. Paul Geisler, AT Ret., has also served as a strong mentor by teaching me to think differently about education to promote excellence for our students and the profession overall.

Jiro Shikakura, MS, ATC

My biggest mentor was Lindsy McLean, AT Ret., former head athletic trainer at the University of Michigan. There were no athletic trainers in Japan, so I had no idea about the knowledge, techniques and skills an athletic trainer needs to have. Mr. McLean patiently and kindly taught me about athletic training and what the profession of an athletic trainer was all about. He has consistently guided me and provided advice as I’ve developed athletic training in Japan.

Craig Alan Voll, Jr., PhD, ATC, PT

Any time you win an award like this, I truly believe it is a tribute to the people behind the scenes who played a role in molding and shaping you into the person you are today. I am a better version of myself today because of numerous mentors who have taught me so many important life lessons. Here are just a few who have played an important role in my career.

Gary Strickland, AT Ret., taught me the importance of remaining calm in stressful situations. Bob Gray, MS, ATC, taught me that if you take care of your community, your community will take care of you. Bill Tessendorf, AT Ret., taught me that we are what we repeatedly do, and that excellence, therefore, is not a single act but a habit. Denny Miller, PT, LAT, ATC, taught me that the essence of health care as well as leadership is about relationships! Larry Leverenz, PhD, LAT, ATC, taught me the importance of connecting with your students and not just being the “sage on the stage” in the classroom. Rick Shaw, AT Ret., gave me my first chance to serve in a leadership role. I had tried seven different times to become involved and was passed up each time. It was on the eighth attempt that Rick, as the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association president, appointed me to the role of Memorial Resolutions chair. I think my leadership trajectory could have been quite different if not for Rick, and I may not have gotten involved on the volunteer side. Chuck Kimmel taught me the importance of being able to “cuss and discuss,” while Mark Coberly, MS, LAT, ATC, and Tory Lindley, MA, ATC, taught me the importance of being willing to ask the tough questions in the board room. Dave Saddler taught me the importance of asking how we get to “yes” and that “no” doesn’t mean stop, it just means you need to find another way. Lastly, Tamesha Logan taught me the art of making gumbo!


Cari L. Wood, LAT, ATC

Hands down, my family. My parents raised us to be kind, give back and work hard. My two kids have made me incredibly proud, so in turn, I want to make them proud of who their mom is. My husband is an extremely hard worker, professional and respectable. He picked up the slack at home raising our kids when I was late at work or on a business trip. He is a cancer survivor,  and handled that time of our lives with so much poise, plus mental and physical toughness. I admire and love him so much!