Blugold Hall of Fame
Jeff Oliphant
Jeff Oliphant

Jeff Oliphant came to UW-Eau Claire as the Head Athletic Trainer in August, 1989 and took athletic training to new heights at the university.

In May, 2002, the UW System Board of Regents granted approval for UWEC to offer a bachelor of science degree in athletic training. In the fall of 2004, the athletic training program was granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

At the time of his death on Aug. 12, 2005 at the age of 45, he was an assistant professor of kinesiology and the director of the athletic training education program at UWEC and had built the athletic training staff to four certified Athletic Trainers from the one-person staff that existed when he arrived on campus.

He was the recipient of two major awards this year. In April, he became the youngest person ever inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame, the highest honor a WATA member can receive from the organization. In June, he received an Over and Above Award from the National Athletic Trainers' Association's College/University Athletic Training Committee at NATA's annual meeting and clinical symposium in Indianapolis. That award recognizes outstanding service to the athletic training profession and NATA at the college and university Division III level.

In 1997, Oliphant received WATA's Athletic Training Distinguished Service Award. That award is given to a member of WATA in recognition of his/her service to WATA and/or outstanding contribution to the profession of athletic training. When Oliphant received the award, it had not been presented since 1993.

Oliphant mentored numerous UWEC students who are in athletic training or medical facilities around the country. He worked with Dr. John Drawbert of the Chippewa Valley Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic to place athletic training interns in a number of local high schools.

A native of Little Falls, Minnesota, Oliphant attended Crosby-Ironton High School, Brainerd Community College and the University of Minnesota-Duluth from which he received his bachelor's degree in 1983. He received his master's degree from the University of Arizona in 1984 and his doctorate, posthumously, from the University of Iowa in August.

Before coming to UWEC, Oliphant spent five years as the head athletic trainer and physical education instructor at Central Arizona College.

In the summer of 1989, he was a trainer at the US Olympic Sports Festival in Oklahoma City. In the summer of 1986, he served as an athletic trainer for a US basketball team that traveled to China and Hong Kong. He was also a regular volunteer at the Badger State Games in Madison, working the wrestling venue from 1990-2002.

Oliphant is survived by his wife Ruth, office manager at Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eau Claire, and two children: Zachary (19) and Jessica (17).

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