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Barrie Steele
Courtesy of NATA website

Head of the Class: Head Athletic Trainer Inducted into Hall of Fame

At home in the classroom and on the field, Barrie Steele is in his element – so much so that the director of athletic training services and head athletic trainer was recently recognized for his hard work and dedication with his induction into the National Athletic Trainers Association's (NATA) Hall of Fame.

“It was quite an honor to be recognized for my work in the profession and with the national athletic trainer’s organization,” says Steele.

For Steele, the induction meant more than recognition amongst his colleagues. The highlight was being nominated by and receiving the hall of fame jacket from his college mentor Mark Smaha, a former University of Idaho head athletic trainer.

This year, NATA inducted nine professionals into the hall of fame. Some years, Steele says, that number is one.

Steele, a Pasco native earned his athletic training degree at Washington State University. After six years as an assistant athletic trainer, he came to Idaho as head athletic trainer, where he also earned his masters degree. What he thought would be a two-year stint has grown considerably longer. He is starting his 26th year in Vandal athletics.

“I’ve really enjoyed working at the University of Idaho. They’ve given me the opportunity and resources to do my job and participate on the national level,” says Steele. “I love this community, and it’s been a great place to raise my family.”

Though he started as head athletic trainer, Steele position has changed over the yeas to include director of athletic training. Steele’s position goes beyond the administrative level though. He is involved in the athletic training, care, equipment operations and strength and conditioning program for all 350 student-athletes. He also serves as clinical instructor to undergraduates in the athletic training program during their clinical training.

“My main focus, though, is on student-athletes, and their health care,” says Steele. “At the University, we wear many hats. I’m glad to do so, but it’s also nice to see how our program is expanding and bringing on more resources.”

Read more about Steele

Additionally, Steele has served on the NATA board of directors. He also was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Trainers’ Association NWATA in 2010 – were he also served as director of district X. As director, he was responsible for expanding scholarship opportunities for students, incorporating the association and initiating legal action to protect the athletic training association. 

Steele, and fellow NWATA hall of famer Tom Koto, also were the driving forces behind the first student athletic training forum in the nation (1979-80) and the student quiz bowl. 

With 25 years experience at the University of Idaho, six years at WSU and his degrees from both universities, Steele is starting to be considered a “local”, not an easy feat on the Palouse.