RCW: A Look Back 4.28


Each March is recognized as National Athletic Training Month, in order to spread awareness about the important work of athletic trainers. In honor of these hard-working, behind-the-scenes people here at Kansas Athletics, let’s take A Look Back at the namesake of the Dean Nesmith Athletic Training facility.
Although not the first trainer for Jayhawk student-athletes, Nesmith is perhaps the best-known and longest-serving. He played football and wrestled for Kansas (1933-35) before becoming the trainer in 1938. His responsibilities included treatment of injuries, but also managing equipment, meals and travel arrangements for the football and basketball teams. On the treatment side, it was well-understood by the athletes that injuries needed to be serious to be treated; “Deaner’s Hospital” didn’t cater to student-athletes who didn’t play hard or those who were looking for sympathy.
Nesmith gained national recognition for his training techniques and served as the Chair of the National Athletic Trainers Association from 1952-53. He was selected as the trainer for the 1960 United States Olympic Basketball Team. Nesmith was recognized on September 29, 1979, Dean Nesmith Day, and continued to work for Kansas Athletics until his retirement in 1983. His nameplate reading “Deaner’s Hospital” is on exhibit in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, alongside several other items from his long career.