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Texas A&M mum on reason for firing longtime athletic trainer Kapchinski - Aggie Sports: Football

Texas A&M mum on reason for firing longtime athletic trainer Kapchinski

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Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 12:33 am

Longtime Texas A&M athletic trainer Karl Kapchinski was fired Friday.

Kapchinski, 56, was in his 14th season as assistant athletic director for athletic training. He supervised 12 athletic trainers, a physical therapist and a nutritionist. He had been the school’s head athletic trainer since 1982.

He was fired by athletic director Eric Hyman, who didn’t give a reason, said someone close to Kapchinski.

A&M officials wouldn’t comment on the firing or what hap

pens with the training staff now.

“It is Texas A&M’s longstanding practice to decline comment regarding personnel matters,”said Alan Cannon, associate athletic director for media relations.

Kapchinski talked about his status via Facebook on Monday.

“Well as I sit here this morning preparing for my day. It starts very much different than any in the last 31 years,” he said. “I will be out looking for new employment. Yes, the new administration in the athletic department have decided that they want a different person running [the] athletic training program and sportsmedicine.

“So I put my Hand in Gods and ask him to lead me and once again carry me. Not sure where but with him I will go.”

Kapchinski, who cleaned out his office Monday, had no comment when contacted Monday night. A friend said it was a tough weekend for the Kapchinski family as they contemplate his future.

Kapchinski had been noticeably absent at some football games this season after not missing any for 31 years.

“[I] miss being with my team in Oxford,” he posted on twitter the day of the A&M-Ole Miss game on Oct. 12.

A source said A&M officials had wanted Kapchinski to spend more time as an administrator over all sports. A&M hired Dalis Boyette to be a trainer for football, joining David Weir, who is the head football trainer and Matt Kee, who is a physical therapist/athletic trainer for football.

Kapchinski’s administrative duties according to the school’s website were directing the department’s drug testing program, maintaining the operational budget, managing medical payments and inventory and equipment for all the athletic training facilities.

Kapchinski was named the National Athletic Trainers Association’s 2005 College/University Head Athletic Trainer of the Year for Division I.

“He has dedicated his career to the betterment of athletic training at the collegiate level,” NATA committee chairman Ron Courson said at the time.

Kapchinski and his staff also were the Big 12 Conference’s training staff of the year twice, in 1998-99 and 2008-09.

Kapchinski graduated from Texas A&M magna cum laude in 1979. The 1975 A&M Consolidated graduate joined A&M after being head athletic trainer at Alief Elsik High from 1979-81. Kapchinski was a student trainer at A&M under legendary Billy Pickard, eventually succeeding him as head athletic trainer. All three of Kapchinski’s sons, Kristopher, Kyle and Kevin, graduated from A&M.

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  • Hometown Girl posted at 9:08 pm on Sat, Nov 9, 2013.

    Hometown Girl Posts: 2

    Wishing Karl the very best...

  • Hometown Girl posted at 9:07 pm on Sat, Nov 9, 2013.

    Hometown Girl Posts: 2

    I remember Karl and his sister Peggy from many years ago, back in the '70s, with much love and respect. I'm just shocked by what the university has done to this loyal and devoted former graduate whose love for TAMU and the sports medicine department was evident. Shame on you, Eric Hyman, it's obvious you have no idea what it means to be an Aggie.

  • oldoldoldaggie posted at 4:28 pm on Tue, Nov 5, 2013.

    oldoldoldaggie Posts: 3

    Hummmmmm - me thinks something smells somewhere. This was no way to treat this particular Aggie who has given his life to Aggie football and has been recognized and acclaimed for his efforts. If I was looing for the smell I think I would be looking at someone who wasn't an Aggie and maybe, just maybe, lacks a certain perspective to operate successfully in this atmosphere. Perhaps in the future the powers to be will hire someone that has a better understanding of our school and its traditions instead of just an understanding of business.

  • gregwh posted at 11:43 am on Tue, Nov 5, 2013.

    gregwh Posts: 635

    I can't comment on what the situation is with respect to this firing. I can comment that sometimes in corporations there is the thought process from higher ups that metricizing activities leads to trackability and a better understanding of the productivity of the activity. Some of those metrics are essentially nonsense in the sense that they don't depend on causality but instead depend on correlation (at best).

    It isn't impossible to imagine that a similar thing could happen in an athletic department, especially one that has traditionally had fiscal challenges and especially in a term of time when it is in transition and under new leadership. It also isn't impossible to imagine that the new AD wants to put his stamp on the organization and might choose some hires like this to emphasize priorities of his own.

    For example: if you are a fan of Larry Jackson's work with the football team, you might want a more holistic approach to athletic training that combines better strength and conditioning with tracking of injuries and "taping" as well as remedial therapy to transition a player back to full strength. (I just made that up, but I think you get where that one goes.) The result could be that across ALL sports you end up with a more committed training staff that looks for the big picture of comparing conditioning to injury resistance and not overdoing spikes of strength training so as to avoid the sudden pattern change injuries.

    If the AD in interactions with a person doesn't feel they're adopting the strategy, then the resistance that forms can turn into a "individual v. team" friction. Typically the statutory leader/administrator wins those wars. Which is NOT to say that is what happened in this case.

    What we hope didn't happen is that there is a good reason for the firing that ought to have been made public through a law enforcement referral as we have seen happen with other schools. I can't quite make the claim--given our less than spectacular NCAA compliance history in the mostly distant past--that Aggies are ethically above reproach, but generally I think we're better off now in this category than we've ever been. That suggests this firing is probably due to style differences more than anything else.

  • mart80 posted at 10:51 am on Tue, Nov 5, 2013.

    mart80 Posts: 1885

    Wow,I knew Karl and his sister Peggy,back in th 70's.He was truly a dedicated Aggie and he will be missed.Something seems amiss here.

  • DaveNelson posted at 7:39 am on Tue, Nov 5, 2013.

    DaveNelson Posts: 2

    Nobody but Hyman and probably Kapchinski know for sure, Robert Cessna's story gives a few clues. This sounds like the case of a competent, dedicated, hands-on athletic trainer forced into a supervisory role in which he was neither comfortable nor necessarily competent. It would not be the first time in which a new boss comes in, redraws the organizational chart, and moves employees into a situation in which they fail. Then, the employee gets the ax because he didn't perform.

  • RJ posted at 7:16 am on Tue, Nov 5, 2013.

    RJ Posts: 1069

    We will hear the "Rest of the Story" soon, Hyman is not one to overreact, so there must be a good reason.


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