Northern Arizona University's longtime head athletic trainer Michael Nesbitt has been selected to the 2019 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame induction class, the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Trustee Board announced Thursday.
The 49th annual induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 1, at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.
Nesbitt, who had a 36-year career at Northern Arizona, is the first-ever Lumberjack to be enshrined in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. He joins 114 current members, including Charles Barkley (NBA), Randy Johnson (MLB), Sean Elliott (NBA), Curt Schilling (MLB) and Mark Grace (MLB).
"Mike Nesbitt, his career, dedication to his profession and care for young people has been a source of pride to NAU Athletics for decades,"said Mike Marlow, NAU vice president for intercollegiate athletics. "His many contributions to athletic training have left a legacy that will live on for generations."
Nesbitt is a legend within Lumberjacks athletics and has seen more than 40 of his former students move on to serve as athletic trainers at the high school, collegiate or professional level.
He was previously honored with induction into the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992. Nesbitt was named as the 1982 winner of the Arizona Athletic Trainer of the Year award by the Arizona Medical Association and was recognized as a Distinguished Faculty Member by the NAU Alumni Association in 1985.
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Nesbitt served as the president of the Arizona Athletic Trainers Association (1977-83) and was on the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Directors (Rocky Mountain Region) for nearly 20 years. He was also the longtime Awards Chairman of the Arizona Medical Association (sports medicine section) and chairman of the Big Sky Conference's Sports Medicine Council from 1982 to 1989.
A number of Nesbitt's previous pupils went on to earn scholarships from the National Athletic Training Association.
Even after retirement, Nesbitt has been a fixture within the athletics family. He recently donated his time to help "Move the Jacks" during road football games. Last season, Nesbitt logged more than 11,000 miles while driving the Lumberjacks equipment truck to each of the team's road games last season.
In order to be a candidate for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, an individual must have merited recognition and distinction in sports and brought fame and honor to the State of Arizona through outstanding sporting accomplishments or contributions.
The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1957 by the Phoenix Press Box Association. The Association held 36 induction ceremonies before ceasing operations in 1991. The Phoenix Press Box Association, partnered with the Maricopa County Sports Authority for the official "changing of the guard" of the custodianship of The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the Sports Award Dinners. In 2007, the Maricopa County Sports Authority changed its name to the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission and then the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission, which still today owns and operates the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame fell dormant from 2002-09. In early 2008, the Sports Commission began planning a formal re-launch of the Hall of Fame. On April 16, 2009 the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame was revitalized with an induction ceremony at The Phoenician. Over 300 people were on hand to honor four inductees including Al McCoy, Darren Woodson, Linda Vollstedt and Bob Horner. Today, the Hall of Fame is the largest annual fundraiser for the Sports Commission. Funds raised will support the Sports Commission's mission to "enrich our community through sports."