Long-term athletic trainer celebrates retirement after 47 years

Associate athletic director, Bill Edwards, often remembered as Doc. E, celebrates his upcoming retirement with long time friend Pam Herriford and Paula Upright, a past assistant and associate athletic trainer. Rebekah Alvey/Herald

Rebekah Alvey

WKU athletics and alumni association staff gathered at theE.A. Diddle Arena Hall of Champions to celebrate the retirement of a long-time colleague.

Bill Edwards, often referred to as Doc. E, has been a part of WKU for 47 years. On Jun 30, Edwards will be retiring from his current position as Associate Athletic Director. Edwards will stay on as a “100 day” part-time employee with WKU athletics. 

Edwards said he was first introduced to WKU in the 60’s when his father and grandfather would bring him to football games. In his remarks at the celebration, Edwards recalled that not attending WKU as a student wasn’t an option because of the love he already had for the university.

In his first year at WKU, Edwards said he began working as a student athletic trainer, football Coach Jimmy Feix won his first national championship, the basketball team made it to the final four, and he saw both the Temptations and Neil Diamond in Diddle Arena.

“Gosh I loved this place, I hated to leave, I didn’t want to leave,” Edwards said. “So here I am 47 years later.” 

After working as a student trainer, Edwards became a full-time employee in 1977. He started in his current position of Associate Athletic Director in 1983.

Pam Herriford, who retired from the WKU athletics department in 2014, said she has known Edwards since high school. They were both employed as assistant athletic trainers in 1977, however, Herriford moved to the administrative side of female athletics in 1981. 

Herriford said Edwards has a calm demeanor, which was beneficial in situations involving an injury. In addition to a close relationship with students and coaches, Herriford said he had developed bonds with local doctors. 

“He’s a guy you might say is the glue of the group,” Herriford said.

Todd Stewart, director of athletics, said he has known Edwards for nine years and no one has anything bad to say about him, which is a credit to him and his impact. Herriford said the student trainers would do whatever needed to be done just because Edwards wanted them to. 

Stewart said 47 years in one place is remarkable. Herriford said Edwards time year has been both great for him and the university, and the longevity is something you don’t find every day. 

Edwards said he is proud of the 250 student trainers he has worked with and the bonds he has formed with athletes. He said  there is a lot of intrinsic rewards from seeing injured athletes recover and begin to play again.

With his relaxed job, Edwards said he is looking forward to less responsibility and more free time. Edwards said he plans on helping with the transition and athlete alumni outreach. 

When alumni come back to visit, Herriford said “Doc. E” is always a friendly and familiar face.

“No one is going to forget him,” Herriford said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]wku.edu.