Weida Named Head Athletic Trainer at Montana

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

The most impressive line of succession at the University of Montana won’t be found in Main Hall, in the big corner office that overlooks the Oval. Instead try looking in the Adams Center.

Naseby Rhinehart, for whom UM’s athletic training center is now named, graduated from Montana in 1935 and immediately began working as the Grizzlies’ first athletic trainer. He remained in the position for 47 years, until retiring in 1982.

He was replaced by Dennis Murphy, also a UM grad. Murphy retired this spring, opening the door for just the third link in a chain that dates back 78 years. What better way to continue the tradition than with another alum, someone who understands the magnitude of the position into which he is stepping?

J.C. Weida, the department’s assistant/associate athletic trainer since 1996, was hired recently to replace Murphy as head of the Rhinehart Athletic Training Center.

“It’s amazing to me that there have been only two head athletic trainers at Montana in all that time, so it’s a huge honor to be the third,” Weida said. “I’ve got big shoes to fill. Naseby and Dennis were both leaders in the athletic training profession.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to make the health care of our student-athletes a priority.”

After graduating from Montana in 1992 with a degree in athletic training, Weida, a native of Deer Lodge, worked two years as a graduate assistant, earning his master’s degree in exercise science in 1995. He spent one year at Pepperdine before returning to his roots in western Montana.

“My folks met at Montana, and I met my wife at Montana, so the university definitely holds a special place in my heart,” Weida continued. “To be able to live and raise a family in Missoula has always been a goal of mine.”

J.C. Weida - UM Atheltics

J.C. Weida

Weida was an assistant athletic trainer under Murphy from 1996 to 2003 before being elevated to associate athletic trainer. In his new role Weida will oversee four fulltime assistants and two graduate assistants. The team handles the care of nearly 300 student-athletes, a number that will rise in 2014-15 with the addition of softball to the list of Griz programs.

“Because of the hard work put in by the search committee, a national search produced four great finalists,” UM Director of Athletics Kent Haslam said. “J.C. has a history here and has tremendous passion for Grizzly athletics and for the welfare of our student-athletes, and he understands that the experience they have in the training room is paramount.

“J.C. will do a great job of making sure the focus of the training room is first and foremost on our student-athletes and the quality care and attention they receive.”

Murphy was the longtime men’s basketball trainer, while Weida’s most visible role during his first 17 years at Montana has been working with the Griz football program.

Two of Weida’s assistant positions are filled by UM graduates: Karla Judge and Drew Babcock. The department’s two other assistant positions are vacant.

“We’ll recruit for the two open positions and then allow J.C. to structure the department the way he thinks best utilizes the skills of the people we bring on,” Haslam said.

“J.C. and his staff will work to establish great relationships with the local medical community and the local partners we have, including Curry Health Center, the School of Physical Therapy and the athletic training program we have on campus.”

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