University of Mobile Graduate Wins National Athletic Training Award

Baleigh EssaryNews


Mobile, Ala. – Hailee Richard, a 2024 graduate of the University of Mobile’s Master of Athletic Training program, has been honored with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) 2024 Bobby Gunn Student Leadership Award for District Nine. This award recognizes her exceptional leadership and dedication in athletic training.

“Winning the Bobby Gunn Leadership Award is a tremendous honor,” Richard said. “It represents the growth I experienced during my time at the University of Mobile and the dedication I have to the athletic training profession. Bobby Gunn was a true pioneer whose leadership inspires me to make a difference.”

Dr. Melissa Thomas, program director for the Master of Athletic Training at the University of Mobile, said, “This is such a great honor for Hailee and, of course, for the University of Mobile’s Master of Athletic Training program. I am excited to see Hailee’s first NATA convention experience through a recent graduate’s eyes. I am so happy for Hailee and all the work she has put into becoming an athletic trainer. We wish her the best on her journey.” 

Prestigious Award

MAT Award

The Bobby Gunn Student Leadership Award, named to honor one of the pioneers in athletic training, is awarded annually to one student from each of NATA’s 10 districts. District Nine, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana, selected Richard for her outstanding contributions and leadership.

As part of this prestigious award, Richard will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 75th NATA Clinical Symposia and AT Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana, from June 25-28, 2024. She will be formally recognized at the Pinky Newell Scholarship and Student Leadership Reception on Thursday, June 27, 2024. 

Transformative Impact of MAT Program

Reflecting on her time at the University of Mobile, Richard highlighted the transformative impact of the Master of Athletic Training program.

“The program not only prepared me for a career in athletic training by developing my clinical skills and knowledge, but also taught me the importance of serving others. The support from my professors and preceptors has been invaluable,” she said.

About UM’s Master of Athletic Training

UM’s Master of Athletic Training program is a two-year, 62-credit-hour program that prepares students through both didactic and clinical experiences to sit for the Board of Certification Exam. UM’s CAATE-accredited program offers students multiple clinical immersion opportunities at local high schools, sports medicine clinics, surgery centers, physical therapy clinics and more.

Students have the opportunity to learn in the university’s state-of-the-art Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice located on campus, complete with high-fidelity manikins used for patient encounters. Students may also take advantage of UM’s nationally accredited human gross anatomy lab as part of their learning experience.

For more information about the Master of Athletic Training program at the University of Mobile, visit To apply or learn more, visit, email, or call 251.442.2222 or 1.800.WIN.RAMS.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known. Located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, on a campus of over 880 acres, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs.The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 and is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.