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History of Athletic Training at EKU: Part 5 - The Dr. Barton Years (1976-2003)

Dr. Barton

In 1976, Dr. Robert Barton was hired to replace the vacancy created by Mr. Murray’s transition to another institution. Robert “Bobby” Barton received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky  in 1968 where he served as an athletic training student. He continued his education with a master’s degree from Marshall University and a doctoral degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1975. Between and during his master’s and doctoral degrees, he served as an assistant athletic trainer at the University of Florida, Florida International University, and the University of Kentucky.

When Dr. Barton started at EKU he was already connected into the profession and had served on the organization committee for the first Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (SEATA) annual conference in July of 1976.1  Professional leadership and responsibility was emphasized at each level of his professional career up to this time and before long he found himself serving as District Director of SEATA (1977), Vice-President of NATA (1981-82) and two-term President of the NATA (1982-1986).

Besides his efforts to exemplify and instill professional responsibility in all of his staff, students, and mentees, he served in an official capacity as both head athletic trainer and program director. As head athletic trainer at EKU, he worked out of the “old” athletic training facility in the Weaver Building and saw the transition to the newer athletic training facility located in the “Classroom and Conditioning Building”, which would later be named the Moberly Building. This transition occurred in 1999. While serving as head athletic trainer, he enjoyed the athletic success of many teams including:

  • OVC Championships – Football (1976, 81-84, 86-88, 90-91, 93-94, 97); Basketball (1979), Men’s Golf (1980, 82-6, 97) Volleyball (1981-87, 90-91), Cross Country (1982-95, 98, 99) Baseball (1984-86, 89), Women’s Basketball (1997), Women’s Golf (1996)
  • National Play-offs – Football (1976-84, 86-95, 97), Cross Country (1978), Basketball (1979), Baseball (1984, 89), Volleyball (1990), Women’s Basketball (1997)
  • National Championships - Football (1979, 82)

EKU Athletic Trainer Dr. Barton in Action

As the Athletic Training Program Director, Dr. Barton guided the curriculum and students through the transition from NATA approval to CAAHEP accreditation (1995).  Much of the national process of these transitions were highlighted in the previous Inside Look story "Brief History of Athletic Training Education and Accreditation". When Dr. Barton started at EKU the curriculum had been designed and the approval process started but EKU was formally recognized by the NATA in 1977. In 1995, the program was reviewed by CAAHEP and gained formal accreditation status. During that time, EKU remained the sole provider of recognized/accredited athletic training education in the Commonwealth and would remain the only accredited program until 2005.



1Shoop, J. (unknown). The Southeast Athletic Trainers Association: A Historical Review.

Contact Information

Matthew J Sabin

Published on June 18, 2018

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