Long-tenured trainer Scott Sunderland was given a prestigious award from the Midwest Conference for his duty to Knox and the College at halftime of the basketball game on Jan. 19 against Grinnell College which was filled with friends and colleagues alike.
Sunderland has been the head athletic trainer and the assistant athletic director for over 25 years. He first became interested in the profession in high school, when he worked with his high school’s basketball team.
Athletic Director Daniella Irle had the idea to present the award to Scott at the game.
“He does not know that there is a plaque. And so I thought it would be nice instead of just giving him the plaque and saying great job if we recognized him at a larger venue,” Irle said. “We just thought if we’re going to hand him a plaque to do it in a way that others can also appreciate what he’s done.”
Since working at the college, Sunderland has served as an interim Athletic Director, been in charge of facilities, game operations and sports medicine, as well as strength and conditioning.
“Those aren’t glamorous positions. Since he’s been here, Scott’s served so many roles. People in athletics work seven days a week,” Irle said.
However, talking with Sunderland for just a short time reveals just how passionate he is about the job and how much receiving the award meant to him.
“I was nominated basically by my other colleagues in the league. I was lucky enough I was able to see the comments that they made to nominate me for it. It means a great, great deal. You’re being honored by your colleagues, the other athletic trainers in the conference. They’re your peers. They’re the people who are doing what you’re doing at a high level,” said Sunderland.
Sunderland doesn’t bore easily. He loves working with student-athletes and helping them reach their full potential in their respective sport. Senior Logan Hollis has worked with Scott as both an employee and as an athlete and has loved getting to know him.
“He’s polite and appreciative as an employer as well. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Scott and it’s been a pleasure to work under him as an employee and with him as an athlete,” Hollis said. “He works 60-70 hours a week, but in his words ‘it doesn’t feel like it.’ That type of passion for your craft is why Scott works so hard.”