Dr. R. Richard Ray Jr. of the Hope College faculty has been chosen to receive the National Athletic Trainers' Association's highest honor for an athletic training educator.

Dr. R. Richard Ray Jr. of the Hope College faculty has been chosen to receive the National Athletic Trainers' Association's highest honor for an athletic training educator.

The association's "Sayers 'Bud' Miller Distinguished Educator Award" recognizes individual excellence in the field of athletic training education, and is presented to two recipients annually. Ray will receive his award during the 52nd Meeting and Clinical Symposia of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), being held on Tuesday-Saturday, June 19-23, in Los Angeles, Calif.  The recognition also includes an invitation to deliver the keynote address during the NATA Professional Educator's Conference in 2003.

In addition to membership in NATA, criteria for the honor include past recognition for service at the state, regional or national level in professional organizations concerned with athletic training; having contributed to athletic training education for at least 10 years; having spent at least a decade as a member of a teaching faculty in athletic training; and evidence of quality in publications and presentations concerned with athletic training.

Ray has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1982, and has been involved in the profession of athletic training for more than 20 years.

He is a professor of kinesiology and athletic trainer at Hope. He is concluding service this spring as long-time coordinator of Hope's athletic training program to coordinate the college's on-going effort to seek re-accreditation through the North Central Association, a process that will continue through the fall of 2003.

Under Ray's leadership, the college's athletic
training program has grown into a full major that requires its graduates to complete 48 credit hours in a variety of disciplines and at least 1,500 hours of clinical work under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer. Hope is the only private liberal arts college, and became only the fourth institution of any type, in the state of Michigan to have its athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In May of 1999, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society, which had presented him with its Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 1995. In January of 2000, he received Hope's "Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching."

Ray has a wide range of research interests, and has received several grants to support his work. He is the editor or author of the books "Management Strategies in Athletic Training" (2000, 1994), "Counseling in Sports Medicine" (1999) and "Case Studies in Athletic Training Administration" (1995), all published by Human Kinetics. He has written numerous articles in scientific publications, and has presented papers at professional conferences including the annual clinical symposia in 2000 of both the Japan Athletic Trainers Organization in Tokyo and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association in Niagara Falls.

He is the editor of "Athletic Therapy Today" and has served as associate editor of the "Journal of Athletic Training." In 1993, he was named to the Educational Advisory Board of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute.

Ray was co-chair of the National Athletic Trainers' Association Education Task Force, and is a member and former president of both the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association and the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society.

He received a BSEd from the University of Michigan in 1979, a master's in physical education from Western Michigan University in 1980 and an EdD in educational leadership from Western Michigan University in 1990.

NATA was founded in 1950 when a core group of about 200 athletic trainers met in Kansas City to discuss the future. Today, the NATA membership spans the globe and includes more than 27,000 allied health care professionals.  NATA members can be found in schools, on the sidelines of professional sports, in hospital and clinics and in industrial settings.