Sally Nogle, a Springer, Covington and Awalt alumna, and the first female athletic trainer for a Big Ten football team, will be recognized this summer for excellence in her field when she is inducted into the mostly male National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame. On June 19, at a ceremony in St. Louis, Nogle will become only the 12th woman admitted to the prestigious body.
"I'm very honored," Nogle said. "I'm humbled."
Nogle graduated from Awalt High School (now Mountain View High School) in 1975. Her father, Jackson Eaves, said that Nogle was always interested in sports as a youth.
She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from San Diego State University. When she began her college career she was interested in going into the medical field. There wasn't an athletic training program back then, but she became interested in the specialty field and gained experience through internships with other women athletic trainers.
Nogle moved to Michigan in 1983, finding work in the Michigan State athletics program — quickly gaining the trust of the school's football coach, George Perles.
Though Perles, who had come from the Pittsburgh Steelers professional football organization, was skeptical about the wisdom having a female athletic trainer on his staff, she said he quickly warmed to her.
"He was resistant at first," Nogle said. "But he saw my value once he got to know me a little bit."
Nogle hopes she can be an inspiration to other women in her field. She said that as she was coming up in her profession she was often told that she would be unable to work the long hours required of athletic trainers and still maintain a personal life and start a family. However, Nogle is married with two children now in their early 20s.
While she acknowledges that being one of the first women to ascend to the level she has in her profession is significant, Nogle doesn't dwell on it.
"I'm an athletic trainer, first and foremost," she said. "It doesn't matter what my gender is."