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A native of Altus, Oklahoma, Dr. Joe Gieck graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1961 with a degree in physical therapy. After one year as an assistant athletic trainer at the U.S. Military Academy, he moved to Virginia in 1962 and never left.

Gieck earned his master’s degree in physical education at Virginia in 1965 and was awarded his doctorate in counselor education at UVa in 1975.

While many will remember Geick for his years as Virginia’s head athletic trainer, his contributions to the department, the University and the community, go well beyond those responsibilities. He served as Virginia’s Director of Sports Medicine from 1998-2004 and had a stint as Director of Life Skills.

He also was a professor in the Curry School of Education and in clinical orthopedic surgery at the UVa Health Sciences Center.

“It is not a stretch to say Joe Gieck has reached the level of `icon’ in the world of athletic training and sports medicine,” said former Athletics Director Craig Littlepage. “It is also not a stretch to say Joe has touched the lives of more Virginia student-athletes than any person associated with the program. Whenever a student-athlete or staff member needed words of encouragement or inspiration to come back from a setback, or a funny story during a difficult moment, we could count on Joe.”

As one would expect from a long and successful professional career, there are many highlights for Gieck as he looks back through the years.

“The establishment of undergraduate, masters and doctoral educational programs in the sports medicine field, and the honor of having a chair in sports medicine named after me are certainly highlights,” Gieck said. “Coming to Virginia was a highlight for me as well as watching the football and basketball programs become top-rated programs, being elected to the National Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame, and co-developing the ongoing NCAA substance abuse educational program and the UVa Life Skills program.”

Gieck received a special commendation award in the spring of 1989 from the National Intercollegiate Administrators Association for his service to high school athletics. He was the 1986 Professional Educator of the Year as selected by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). In 1979, he was honored by the NATA as the “Trainer of the Year” in college athletics. In 1990, he was inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame.

Gieck received the Distinguished Service Award for Athletic Training from the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine in 1993. He has served on the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy, as a member of the Governor’s Council for Physical Fitness and the Board of Health Professions for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, the University established the Joe Gieck Professorship in Sports Medicine.

Joe Gieck

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