A friend of a friend-Rod Compton and Ronnie Barnes-March 27

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for March 27, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Yesterday in my job I got the privilege to tour a group of area business executives around our campus. The focus of the tour was on the health sciences so they got to see some neat stuff that UNC Pembroke offers. They toured our nursing labs, the research lab of Dr. Ben Bahr who does some real neat stuff on Alzheimer’s, and they got to see the state of the art Athletic Training Center.

Each stop on the tour produced the same set of reactions; 1. “I had no idea that UNC Pembroke could offer that opportunity to students” and 2. “Wow technology is really involved”.

One gentleman in particular Ron Taylor from Lu Mil Vinyards had graduated from East Carolina University around the time I finished there. He asked me about Athletic Training back during our college days. I told him we had state of the art trainers in people like Rod Compton and my good friend Ronnie Barnes but not the equipment he saw today. That conversation led to us talking about Ronnie and I gave him the following update.

Ronnie Barnes was from Wilson, NC. He had been the trainer for his high school, the Wilson Fike Cyclones, where he worked alongside coach Henry Trevathan and best-friend Carlester Crumpler ’74 to defy the odds and snare three state championships

Ronnie went through East Carolina’s sports medicine program, becoming the first certified athletic trainer to graduate from the program. He was then named as an assistant trainer and instructor for ECU after graduation in 1975. His mentor during that time was Rod Compton one of Ronnie close friends until the time of his death.

Ronnie and I were the same age and we worked closely on a number of men’s basketball and athletic department projects during our undergraduate days. Ronnie and I also were Physical Education Majors so we had so many classes together. In 1975 we both at the age of 22 were working in the Athletic Department-Ronnie as Assistant Athletic Trainer and me as Assistant Basketball Coach.

Ronnie left ECU and went on to Michigan State where he got his master’s degree in 1977 and then remained there for three years as Head Athletic Trainer and assistant professor all before the age of 30.

In 1980 he got an unbelievable opportunity to join the N.F.L as the head trainer for the N.Y. Giants. Today Ronnie Barnes is the Senior Vice President for Medical Services for the entire organization. Ronnie is a rock star in the profession of athletic training. The NATA (National Association of Athletic Trainers) has twice selected Barnes the National Professional Trainer of the Year. He joined the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and NFL physicians voted him Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2002. He was named to the Athletic Hall of Fame at ECU, Michigan State University and Wilson Fike High School.

Great article on the impact Ronnie has a vice president for the NY Giants.



Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants - November 20, 2005R_Barnes3

The Friend of the Friend-ROD COMPTON


Losing your mentor, colleague and friend but taking care of his memory

Rod Compton passed away in Greenville, N.C. on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010. He was born May 19, 1947, in Newark, Ohio to the late Clayton M. and Dorothy R. (Anspach) Compton.

Rod was from Ohio and he reminded you of that anytime he got. He graduated from Newark High School in 1965 and was considered Newark High School’s first student athletic trainer. He was given credit for what is now the Newark Athletic Training position at NHS. Rod was inducted into the Newark High School Hall of Fame in 2008. He held a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio University and a Master’s of Education in from Bowling Green University.

Rod started the ECU program in Athletic Training from scratch and Ronnie Barnes was his first graduate. He kinda set the bar pretty high right from the start. Rod never married but he was married to his profession.

He had done much research and publishing on many topics involving Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. That research along with his service to the profession had him the recipient of many honors including the Pioneer in Athletic Training Award (North Carolina Athletic Trainer’s Association, the Sayers J. Miller, Jr. Distinguished Athletic Training Educator Award (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) and the award of Appreciation for Service as Editor-In-Chief of Athletic Training, The Journal of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association 1972-1979.

Ronnie was not going to let Rod Compton be forgotten by other. In 2010 he made a gift to East Carolina University that was instrumental in the establishment of a scholarship to honor the memory of Rod Compton.  The Rod Compton Athletic Training Scholarship Fund will be awarded each year to a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a degree in athletic training.

Ronne described Rod Compton as “an excellent teacher, mentor and friend.”

If you are a teacher, parent, leader, or friend and don’t think you make a difference look at the relationship between Rod Compton and Ronnie. If you constantly take care of others you will make a difference.

Ronnie Barnes is a professional who takes care of others. In this case he was a friend taking care of the memory and legacy of Rod Compton.

Well done Ronnie Barnes.


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