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Kentucky Basketball hires new head athletic trainer

The previous trainer is heading to Memphis.

Auburn v Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats have hired a new head athletic trainer for the basketball team.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Geoffrey Staton had been hired as the head athletic trainer for the basketball Cats.

Staton will take over for Chris Simmons, who served in the role since 2009-10 and is now off to Memphis as their head athletic trainer. Staton will begin his role with the Wildcats immediately.

”I am incredibly humbled and excited to return to the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation,” Staton said in a press release. “Since attending graduate school here, UK continues to be a very special place to me. The Kentucky Athletics Department and Sports Medicine staff have great leadership and both have always invested fully in the safety, well-being and success of its student-athletes. Coach Calipari is a dynamic leader who challenges his players and staff to be the best version of themselves. To work with him again and be an active part of his staff and this historic basketball tradition is a dream come true. I am thankful and blessed to have this opportunity and cannot wait to get started.”

Staton will manage the daily healthcare of the men’s basketball team and operation of the training room. This will include daily injury and illness management, evaluations, treatments, rehabilitation protocols, corrective exercises, recovery strategies, referrals, and post-operative care.

Staton will work closely with the coaches and UK men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach Robert Harris to provide the best plan for players to maximize their health and athletic performance, in addition to coverage for all workouts, practices, shootarounds and games.

”To perform at the high level we expect of our team, we need to make sure our kids are being monitored and treated at the highest level,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “I’m confident Geoff’s experience in the NBA, with USA Basketball and at the college level will provide our players with the best care to perform at a high level and to maximize their athletic abilities. I’ve worked with Geoff during our USA Basketball trip in 2017 and know that Geoff has the same players-first approach that we ask of all of our staff.

”I also want to thank Chris Simmons for everything he did for us. I’m excited for Chris to be able to return home and I appreciate all that he’s done for us over the years. He’s family.”

Staton is actually a UK alumni, as he graduated with his master’s degree in athletic training in 2010. He also worked with Calipari as the head athletic trainer during the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo in the summer of 2017.

Staton most recently worked with Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns for a season as an assistant athletic trainer. He was charged with assisting with the day-to-day duties of the training room and injury/illness management of NBA roster and assigned G League players, sharing bench and locker room responsibilities for each home and away game, and assisting with post-practice and postgame treatment and recovery efforts.

Prior to his stint with the Suns, Staton was a senior associate athletic trainer at the University of South Florida, where he worked exclusively with the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs.

In addition to his primary responsibilities, Staton started the “Bulls Eye” initiative, monthly performance team meetings to improve athletic performance, injury prevention, interdepartmental collaboration and holistic athlete care. He also headed up Vitamin D testing, sleep tracking, RPE tracking and mental health meetings to improve health and performance.

Staton’s other stops include the University of North Carolina (2014-17), where he was the head athletic trainer for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving and softball programs, and High Point University ( 2010-14), where he worked with men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse before taking over men’s basketball duties in the second half of his stay.

During his time at Kentucky (2008-10), he was the primary athletic trainer for the women’s gymnastics and dance teams.