The Athletic Training program will look to fill a huge void in the weeks to come, as longtime Director of Sports Medicine Russ Hoff will transition into an alternate role at Valdosta State as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Health Sciences within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The Valdosta State Athletic Training program has established itself as one of the top Division II programs in the country during the last several decades, and Hoff’s leadership has played an immeasurable role in earning that reputation. Hoff joined the Valdosta State Athletics staff in 1997 and began a run of 20 years, during which he complemented his head athletic trainer role with numerous other responsibilities, including course instruction and the guiding of independent studies and internships. He also served on a multitude of committees during his time at Valdosta State.
“Russ is a giant in the field of athletic training and we have been blessed to have him as our head athletic trainer for the last 20 years,” said Valdosta Stated Athletic Director Herb Reinhard. “While I am disappointed that Russ will be leaving his head athletic trainer position and no longer be a part of VSU Athletics, I am pleased that he will continue with the university and I know that the students that he will teach will greatly benefit from his experience. The health and well-being of student-athletes is a priority for athletic programs and we have been lucky to have one of the very best responsible for the student-athletes at VSU.”
Hoff began his career in collegiate athletics as the Assistant Professor in the department of Health and Sports Sciences at Capital University in 1987. During his ten years at Capital, his efforts caught statewide attention, as he was named the Ohio Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1993. The trend continued after his transition to VSU, when he earned another Athletic Trainer of the Year honor in the state of Georgia in 2001. In 2005, recognition extended to the national stage when Hoff was named the NCAA Division II Head Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Hoff has given countless presentations at prestigious universities and events throughout the southeast. In addition, he has provided written media contributions to Football Coaches Quarterly magazine and has overseen multiple sponsored research projects related to concussions and nutritional analysis. His work has been a tremendous asset to Valdosta State Athletics and has helped student-athletes reach their goals and perform at an optimal level year in and year out throughout the last 20 years.
“The decision to transition to a full-time faculty member and give up my athletic responsibilities was more difficult than I anticipated,” said Hoff in a recent statement. “Valdosta State University is a great place and I am grateful for what it has meant to me and my family. The timing was right and I look forward to the transition to full time teaching. The relationships you make with staff, graduate assistants, students, and student-athletes is what I will miss most, but I am grateful that I will continue to be able to experience those relationships in the classroom.”
Hoff will conclude his role with Valdosta State Athletics at the end of June.
The Valdosta State Athletic Department will begin a search next week for its next Head Athletic Trainer. Stay tuned to www.vstateblazers.com for application information.