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Head athletic trainer retires after 37 years with Ithaca College

The+Ithaca+College+Department+of+Intercollegiate+Athletics+announced+on+April+25+that+longtime+head+athletic+trainer+Michael+Matheny+will+retire+at+the+end+of+the+academic+year+after+37+years+with+the+college.
Courtesy of Ithaca College Athletics
The Ithaca College Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on April 25 that longtime head athletic trainer Michael Matheny will retire at the end of the academic year after 37 years with the college.

The Ithaca College Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced April 25 that longtime head athletic trainer Michael Matheny will be retiring at the end of the 2023–24 academic year.

Matheny has been with Ithaca College since the beginning of the 1987–88 academic year and etched his name to the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame during the fall of 2022.

Susan Bassett ’79, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics, gave her farewells to Matheny and said she is appreciative of​ his contributions to the college’s Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training.

“I could not be more grateful for the time I have had working with Mike Matheny as our head athletic trainer,” Bassett said in the announcement.” Matheny is a highly committed professional and a wonderful colleague. The time and attention that he put into navigating IC Athletics through the pandemic is astronomical. His collaboration with Dr. [Andrew] Getzin, health care professionals, staff and student-athletes as well as league colleagues is unmatched. I am forever grateful for his excellent work. I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

Matheny received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University before getting his master’s degree from the University of Arizona. During his 37 years at the college, Matheny worked with multiple teams including the 1988 and 1991 national champion Ithaca College football teams. Matheny was also named the 2021 National Athletic Trainer of the Year by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Matheny was also a clinical professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training and taught over 560 different athletic training majors during his career. Courtney Gray, clinical professor and athletic trainer, was a former student of Matheny. Gray said Matheny has been a mentor to her throughout his tenure.

“I was fortunate to learn from the best having Mike as a professor when I was an undergrad student,” Gray said in the announcement. “Having him as a mentor has been a privilege and I am grateful for the supportive work environment he established. He has always provided the best medical care for the student-athletes at Ithaca College and led a sports medicine program that we are all immensely proud to be a part of.”

Matheny spoke on the transition from when he first started with the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training to now. He said that although the department has greatly changed, the hard work ethic that is put in has not.

“It has been a privilege to work at Ithaca College for 37 years as both an athletic trainer and clinical faculty member,” Matheny said in the announcement. “When I began here in 1987, our athletic training staff consisted of myself, Kent Scriber and Jackie Kingma. We provided medical care for all our student-athletes and taught all of the courses in the athletic training education program. … One thing that has not changed, however, is the commitment to excellence found within our athletic training staff and our Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.”

Longtime men’s lacrosse coach Jeff Long, who retired in 2023 after 36 years with the college, said Matheny will always prioritize others rather than himself.

“Mike and I both began our IC careers on Aug. 15, 1987,” Long said in the announcement. “In those 36 years as a ‘team’ he simply made my life and the lives of our student athletes better, has kept all of us happier and healthier and he has pretty much seen and done it all, on the field and off. He is a selfless and caring human being who always placed the needs of others ahead of his own. To me he was not just a colleague, he was a brother. Here’s to your next adventure Mike.”

Matheny said students and staff are what make Ithaca College special.

“When all is said and done, I know it is the people here who make it a special place and it is colleagues and students that I will miss,” Matheny said in the announcement. “A huge thank you to faculty, administrators, coaches and staff I’ve worked with, to the faculty who educated and mentored my two kids, and to the students and student-athletes I’ve worked with and gotten to know over many years. … I will always be a Bomber!”

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Flynn Hynes
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