Longtime athletic trainer Edwards retiring after 47 years at WKU | WKU Sports

Western Kentucky Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Bill “Doc E” Edwards has announced his retirement after 47 years, effective June 30.

“We are thankful for Doc E’s countless contributions to WKU Athletics over his nearly five decades of commitment to our student-athletes and sport programs,” WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said in a news release. “His impact as a department head and mentor for hundreds of future athletic trainers leaves a sterling legacy.”

Edwards, a 2016 inductee into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni, was named head athletic trainer at WKU in 1983 after six years as an assistant and was elevated to his current post in 2009. A two-time graduate of WKU in 1974 and 1976, Edwards came to Western Kentucky as a student in 1970 and began his career as a student athletic trainer.

Edwards will be honored for his contributions to Hilltopper athletics during Saturday’s Red vs. White WKU spring football game.

Under Edwards’ leadership, the athletic training program has grown from a staff of three to 12 certified athletic trainers who provide health care and athletic training for all 16 WKU sports teams. Edwards also coordinates a large group of sports medicine specialists, including team physicians and physical therapists, to ensure appropriate, timely and state-of-the-art health care for WKU student-athletes. In addition to his daily athletic training duties, Edwards has served as a faculty member since 1977 and teaches in the School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport at WKU, mentoring future sports professionals. 

Edwards was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Trainers Society (KATS) Hall of Fame in 2010 and served as treasurer of the board for many years. Along with his KATS duties, Edwards is a member of the Alumni W-Club Board of Directors and has served as treasurer of that board since 1996.

He is married to the former Jennie Willoughby, and they have two daughters, Faith and Rachel.

“As I close out my career, I am extremely indebted to my mentor and our first full-time athletic trainer, Russell Miller, who extended me an offer to become a student athletic trainer in the fall of 1970,” Edwards said. “I have been so fortunate to work at my alma mater my entire career. Through five presidents, nine athletic directors, seven years with basketball, 47 years with football, eight football coaches, and 533 football games, it’s time for a new chapter.

“I am thankful to President Downing and coach John Oldham for hiring me and for the privilege of working with many of my heroes: Coach Jimmy Feix, “Butch” Gilbert, Jim Richards, Clem Haskins, Jack Harbaugh, Bill Powell, Burch Oglesby, Wes Strader and many others. I’ve been blessed to work with over 200 student athletic trainers, 29 associate athletic trainers and my team…

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