Loved Trainer Retires After 34 Years

Photo by Diana Viera

Photo by Diana Viera

 

Diana Viera

Athletic Trainer Gary Kinney is retiring at the end of this year, following over three decades of work at Santa Ana College. Soon Kinney can spend more time on date nights with his wife and focus on completing his bucket list.

“There are things I want to see, luckily I have a wife that wants to do it too,” he said.

Kinney started to work at SAC in February of 1982, right after college. Kinney received the opportunity to work at SAC through former trainer George Curtis.

But there is more to Kinney than just athletic training. He grows his own vegetables in his backyard every year and loves to garden, which is one way he relaxes. He served as a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he’s mentored more than 200 people.

During his time at Brigham Young University, he took two years off from studies to go on a mission trip in Leeds, England.

“I served there from summer of 1975 until the summer of 1977. I met people, helped people. It was really neat,” Kinney said. “I’m hoping to go back and see some of the old places I was at.”

Watching him evolve over time, former Head Baseball Coach Don Sneddon has seen how much Kinney has grown as a person and athletic trainer.

“He’s matured, he knows how to handle situations better in control and the players appreciate the skills he brings out because he has a lot of experience,” Sneddon said.

Head Men’s Soccer Coach Jose Vazquez has memories of him as a player while Kinney was the athletic trainer. Now being a coach and not a player, the only thing that has changed between Kinney and him would be the connection they have in a professional level now that they are co-workers.

“I think that in the beginning when I started coaching, he used to treat me as a player still. But as the years progressed, I think we have this great respect towards each other,” Vazquez said.

After retiring, Kinney has a lot of plans for how he’s going to spend his time, but most of all he’s going to miss many things about working for the Dons.

“I’ll miss the association with the athletes, being at games and things like that,” Kinney said.

“It’s interesting to run into people and realize you won’t be seeing their faces much anymore. It’s part of life, life moves on.”

 

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