Former UT Trainer Wins Tim Kerin Award

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - by special report to

MIAMI, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins Head Athletic Trainer Kevin O'Neill has been named the recipient of the 2013 Tim Kerin Award for Excellence in Athletic Training. O'Neill, who is entering his 18th season with Miami, is the first member of the Dolphins staff and only the fifth NFL athletic trainer to win the prestigious award.

The Tim Kerin Award for Excellence in Athletic Training sponsored by Gatorade was started in 1994 and is given annually for outstanding service by an athletic trainer who best exemplifies the values of Tim Kerin, the former long-time Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Tennessee. The award itself is shaped like a three-leaf clover, with a leaf representing each of Kerin's finest qualities: service, dedication and integrity. A committee selects one recipient annually and presents the award during the NATA Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposia which will take place on June 26, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"We are very proud of Kevin for being recognized for such a honor," Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland said. "Kevin is very deserving and exemplifies everything that this award stands for and embodies. We know with the close connection and friendship that Kevin and Tim had, this honor has a very personal and special meaning to him."

The connection and friendship between Kerin and O'Neill began in suburban Pittsburgh, as the two met at Penn Hills High School, where as a student trainer, O'Neill's passion for athletic training began under Kerin. Including their time at Penn Hills, the two worked together at for ten of the first eleven years of O'Neill's career with stops at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Tennessee.

"To receive an award with Tim's name on it is a touching and emotional experience for me," explained O'Neill who viewed Kerin as a mentor and instrumental in his career. "To be mentioned with the previous winners of the award is humbling, the list reads as a who's who in the profession in athletic training and to now be included with them is an incredible honor."

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, O'Neill earned his master's degree in athletic training from the University of Arizona while serving as the athletic trainer for Catalina High School in Tucson, Arizona. O'Neill spent three years as the assistant athletic trainer at the University of Tennessee, four years as the head athletic trainer at Oregon State, and one year at the University of Central Florida prior to spending the next four years the University of Miami. In 1990 O'Neill joined the Dallas Cowboys where he spent the next seven years as the head athletic trainer and was a part of three Super Bowl Championship teams before joining the Dolphins in March of 1996.

A Pittsburgh native, O'Neill and his wife, Anne, have two daughters, McKenzie and Kaitlyn, and live in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tim Kerin was the Head Athletic Trainer at Penn Hills High Scholl in Pittsburgh, PA, the Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Pittsburgh and at University as Tennessee. He also served on the NATA Program and Convention Committees from 1979-1991, was a founding member of Knoxville's Metropolitan Drug Commission, for which he served as president from 1987-1989, and chaired the SEATA Awards Committee from 1988-1992. He received a Chancellor's Citation from the University of Tennessee in 1990, and the Southeast Athletic Trainers' Association Award of Merit in 1992. In 1993 Kerin was inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame. Later that year the University of Tennessee officially dedicated "The Tim Kerin Training Room" in his honor and memory. In 2001 Kerin's memory was again honored when he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. 

(E-mail Stan Crawley at

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