Athletic Training legend “Doc” Anderson named to national hall of fame


John "Doc" Anderson, athletic training professor emeritus, assists during a track and field event.

A former Troy University coach and head athletic trainer has been chosen to be inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Hall of Fame.

John “Doc” Anderson, professor emeritus, received a call with the news on Monday, Feb. 6, that he almost didn’t answer.

“I looked at the area code, and I thought it was one of those robocodes,” he said. “I answered and someone said, ‘Is this John Anderson?’ and I quietly said, ‘yes.’  He said, ‘This is the president of the NATA, and you’re going to be inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame.’”

John “Doc” Anderson
John “Doc” Anderson

The NATA is a professional membership organization “for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession” that has expanded to over 43,000 members since its inception in 1950, according to its official website.

Nominations for awards are open from Aug. 1 through Sept. 15 and recipients are selected in February.

“A committee made up of members from each of NATA’s 10 districts reviews each candidate’s application materials and, after several rounds of discussion, they recommend candidates for Hall of Fame induction,” Angela De Leon-Coleman, senior honors and awards coordinator, said.

In order to be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame, the nominee must be an NATA member in good standing, have 30 years Board of Certification certification or Retired Certified with initial certification at least 30 years prior to the award year and 30 years of membership in the NATA.

Anderson said he was surprised and grateful to be recognized, but ultimately believes the honor goes back to TROY.

“It’s Troy University’s because I stand on TROY’s shoulders,” he said. “It belongs especially to the College of Health and Human Services, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, which we are under, and the athletic training program.”

Anderson has experience at every level of athletic training: student, coach, trainer, professor and curriculum director.

As a student-athlete at Auburn, he helped lead the Tigers to their 1964 SEC Cross Country Championship before graduating in 1965.

Anderson began his coaching career at TROY four years later as the head coach for the track and field and cross country teams for 12 seasons while simultaneously serving a 14-year stint as the head athletic trainer (1967-80). During this time, his teams won three track and field conference championships and seven cross country conference championships.

He left TROY in 1980 to take on the head athletic trainer position at LSU for 10 years, but returned in 1990 and continued to coach the cross country teams.

Between his start at and return to TROY, Anderson coached 45 All-American players, including Charles Oliver who won the 1976 NAIA 400-meter National Championship, two Alabama Collegiate Conference championships in 1970-71 and one Gulf South Conference Championship in 1978 with the track and field team. The cross country teams won 10 Gulf South Conference titles and five NCAA Division II Regional Championships.

“My motto with athletics is simple,” he said. “Athletics makes you strong. Study makes you wise. Character makes you great.”

He was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Coach of the Year twice from 1973-74 and the National Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1992. He earned the conference coach of the year title six times throughout both of his careers at TROY and was also named the NCAA Division II Regional Coach of the Year four times.

As an athletic trainer, Anderson served at the 1996 Olympic Games for the U.S. Track and Field squad and was a member of their medical team in 1984, 1988 and 1992.

He received the NATA Service Award in 1997, was inducted into the Alabama Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 1999 and earned the title of Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award for the NATA in 2006. In 2013, he was inducted into TROY’s Sports Hall of Fame.

On June 28, Anderson will be one of six people inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame in Houston, Texas, and will join the ranks of more than 250 distinguished men and women.

“After all the years I served in athletics, this ain’t mine,” he said. “I’m just carrying the award back from [Houston].”

He and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Troy and have two children, Cindy and John III.