BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After 47 years of service to Western Kentucky University Athletics, Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Bill “Doc E” Edwards has announced his retirement, 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,” Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. “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 the University in 1974 and 1976, Edwards came to The Hill as a student in 1970 and began his career as a student athletic trainer. He received his degree in Physical Education in 1974 and was a member of Phi Delta Theta, where he served as fraternity president in 1973-74. Edwards followed his undergraduate curriculum by earning his graduate degree in Secondary Education and Health Education from WKU in 1976 and certification with the National Athletic Trainers Association, a distinction he has held since 1975.
Edwards will be honored for his contributions to Hilltopper Athletics during Saturday’s Red vs. White WKU Football Spring 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 sport teams. Edwards also coordinates a large group of sports medicine specialists, including team physicians and physical therapists, to ensure appropriate, time 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 on The Hill, mentoring countless numbers of future sports professionals.
Over his time on The Hill, Hilltopper and Lady Topper teams have combined to win 164 total conference championships across the Ohio Valley, Sun Belt and now Conference USA.
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. Between them, the family has six degrees from WKU. Including Faith’s husband, Corey Johnson, and Rachel’s husband, Will Conley, that degree number totals eight.
In a statement, Edwards said of his retirement:
“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. 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 physicians who have been the best. I’m appreciative of the support our administration has provided to our Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Department.
I am thankful to my parents Bill and Patty Kinslow for giving me the opportunity to attend WKU. Most importantly, I appreciate the love and support of my wife, Jennie, and my daughters, Faith and Rachel, and son-in-laws, Corey Johnson and Will Conley, for allowing me to work in a great profession at the best university.
I am retiring from my position but not from my university and looking forward to great days ahead.”