Keith Handling’s retirement party filled the North Atrium of the Health Sciences Complex last week with students, alumni, appreciative colleagues and other well-wishers saluting the beloved and long-serving associate professor in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology. Students from the 1970s to the Class of 2019 came out to celebrate a man credited with growing and improving the Athletic Training program.
After 47 years, there’s no replacing someone like Keith, but Tom Kaminski, director of Athletic Training Education, along with family and friends, did their best to reflect on the impact Handling has had on the department, the college, the athletics program and the university. They noted his empathy, his compassion for athletes, his willingness to be a role model of others interested in athletic training – as well as his love of a good joke.
Perhaps Edgar Johnson, who served as UD Athletic Director for 25 years before retiring in 2009, said it best: “Keith will leave an indelible mark on both the athletic training education major and the entire athletic program when he retires. There’s not been anyone more dedicated before him and I doubt there will be anyone more dedicated after him.”
During his time first as a student at UD and then a member of faculty, Handling has served under eight university presidents. He has attended 438 consecutive football games at UD. He’s also had the chance to work with every athletic training student enrolled in the program since it began in 1973.
“I think our program is one of the premiere programs in the country. Our students receive the best scientifically based education possible,” Handling said. “I was given a great opportunity and I have cherished every moment.”