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Support Personnel At 2 Big 12 Schools Honored
June 06, 2013
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Praise and pats on the back typically go to the people who are in the spotlight, the folks who get showered in confetti, cut the nets and hoist the trophies.

But any successful athletic program has dozens of support personnel who work behind the scenes and make it possible for those who get the glory to … well, get the glory.

Two Big 12 member institutions have staffers who have been recognized for their hard work that makes their schools’ athletic programs successful.

Iowa State’s Jack Trice Stadium has a natural grass field that would make Augusta National jealous. It was named the 2012 College Football Field of the Year by SportsTurf Managers Association (STMA).

Athletics turf grounds manager Tim Van Loo has put in the time and diligent work to make Jack Trice Stadium look gorgeous. Van Loo’s student staff includes Blake Nelson, Colton Metzger, Josh Lenz, Adam Gregersen and Kevin Hansen. The Cyclone sports turf crew will appear on the cover for an upcoming issue of SportsTurf Magazine.

“It’s always good to be recognized by your peers,” Van Loo said. “It’s also quite humbling.”

And Baylor’s Mike Sims, who is in his 38th year of taking care of student-athletes as the school’s Assistant Athletic Director of Athletic Training. He has been awarded the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association's 2013 Most Distinguished Award.

The SWATA Executive Board recently named Sims the winner for his leadership, dedication, work ethic and loyalty to the athletic training profession. He has worked at Baylor full-time since 1981, after spending five years as a Baylor student trainer.

In his current role, Sims works as the head athletic trainer for Baylor's football program, while overseeing a staff of 10 full-time athletic trainers for all of BU's 19 varsity sports.

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