Four years after receiving the organization’s Most Distinguished Award, longtime Baylor trainer Mike Sims has been named to the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was developed for the purpose of honoring members of District VI whose dedicated service, past achievements and professional contributions have furthered the advancement of the SWATA and the athletic training profession. Along with the University of Houston’s Mike O’Shea and former Spring ISD trainer Mike Pace, Sims will be honored this weekend at the SWATA Annual Meeting in San Marcos, Texas.
Sims arrived at Baylor in 1975 as a freshman student trainer, becoming the school’s first full-time assistant trainer six years later. He retired last month after 36 years of service, including the last two as Associate Athletics Director for Athletic Training.
“He has provided steady guidance of our Athletics Training area throughout his career, and he has positively impacted thousands of student-athletes along the way,” said Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades.
Considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on sports equipment safety standards, Sims was previously honored with the 2006 Dave Campbell Award from the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce; the 2007 NATA Service Award; and the Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Trophy at the 2012 Holiday Bowl for his unselfish commitment, motivation and teamwork.
As a member of the board of directors of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, he helped determine safety standards for equipment such as football and baseball helmets and catcher’s masks. Sims served 16 years on the NATA Ethics Committee, including seven as the committee chair.
The Cedar Hill, Texas, native spent five years as a Baylor student trainer under Skip Cox, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in 1980 and a master’s two years later.
Sims said working under Baylor Athletics Hall of Famers Cox and football coach Grant Teaff “helped set my foundation and got me going, just seeing how they were so good about handling situations.”
“That’s how I learned the whole business,” he said. “The way our profession is, it’s more like a family. You do things the way you’re taught them to do them. And with Skip, good work habits and taking care of the players, those were the things he pushed.”
Licensed by the State of Texas and NATA-certified, Sims became Baylor’s head trainer in October 1984 and was promoted to director of sports medicine in 1993. He served as president of the SWATA in 1991-91.
“He just had a way of making you feel like he cared about you as much more than just an athlete. He cared about you as a person,” said Walter Abercrombie, former Baylor running back (1978-81) and current Associate AD for the “B” Association. “Sometimes, athletes are a little superstitious when it comes to who they want to work with. But, Mike had a particular ability to make athletes feel that they were in excellent hands with him, from taping your ankle to taking care of you when you were sick and had to stay home.”
Sims, who now serves as head of the athletic training staff at Southwest Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, is married to the former Suzanne Stevens, also a Baylor graduate. The couple has two children, Jessica and Keith, both Baylor graduates. Mike serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Woodway.