With school starting back up, we wanted to find another educator with Morning Sun roots. The month of January Alumni feature is Mike McElhinney. He is the head athletic trainer at William Woods University and part-time professor at the University of Missouri.
Keith and Debbie McElhinney
Family (spouse, children, ect.)?
Abby McElhinney (wife)
Alex and Jensen (sons)
Which Partner High School did you attend?
Winfield – Mt. Union
High School Activities and Awards:
Big Brothers Big Sisters Program
National Honor Society
Which College did you attend and your major?
Kirkwood Community College (A.A. 2003)
- Mjr: Liberal Arts
University of Northern Iowa (B.A. 2006)
- Mjr: Athletic Training
- Min: Health Promotion
West Virginia University (M.S. 2008)
- Post Professional Master’s of Science – Athletic Training
College Activities and Awards:
- Co President 2005-2006
- Kirkwood 2001-2003
- UNI: 2003-2006
Graduated Cum Laude from UNI
Published research in the Journal of Athletic Training (2006)
UNI Athletic Training Student of the Month x2
In Mrs. Whitaker’s 3rd grade class we had a unit on the human body. She had us lay on brown paper, she traced our bodies, and we cut them out. Through the unit we learned about the various systems and very basic information on why that system was important. We also placed the organs for each unit on our cut out. This unit began my fascination in the human body and how it functions. I believe it is this unit that stoked the fire of interest in pursuing a career in the medical field.
Currently, I am the Head Athletic Trainer at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. In this position I am responsible for coordinating all orthopedic and general medical coverage for our 16 collegiate sports. During my time here at Woods, I have been apart of the most successful era of student athlete success. Guesstimating… from the Athletic Training Facility and the sidelines, I have helped teams and individuals celebrate 20 plus American Midwest Conference championships and one individual National Champion.
During my graduate school days, I discovered that I also enjoyed teaching students about Athletic Training and how to become healthcare professional. This interest has led me to a part-time Faculty position at the University of Missouri. In this role, I have the pleasure of educating future Athletic Trainers.
The field of Athletic Training has taken me from rural SE Iowa to both coastlines and the gulf with many stops in between. As an Athletic Training Student, I worked with the 2005 UNI football team and was a part of their NCAA FCS National Runner Up team. After my time at UNI, my wife Abby and I moved to West Virginia and I began my graduate studies. West Virginia University and William Woods University coverage has led me to multiple Big East Conference events and Championships, NCAA Tournaments, the NIT, the Gator Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and NAIA National Championship tournaments. Over these past 12 years I have had the opportunity to meet some celebrities and interact with future NFLers, Major League prospects, and European League basketball players.
Why are you proud of Morning Sun?
The people!!!! Morning Sun, like so many other small Iowa towns, people look out for one another and the community. It seems like everyone has each others’ backs. It is one of the things I miss. The town celebrates achievements together and shows up at your door in times of illness, tragedy, and loss. These days it seems as though small towns are struggling to survive, yet the Community Betterment/Hometown Pride Group is doing great things and keeping Morning Sun on the map. I have seen (via Facebook and other social media) a new generation of citizens taking the baton. It’s a nice feeling knowing that when we return for visits that we can show our boys what living in Morning Sun and rural SE Iowa meant to my wife and me.
What is your favorite Morning Sun memory?
Wow… I don’t think I have just one. Always the Morning Sun 4th of July celebration. The big snow pile up by the Presbyterian Church or sledding at Iowa State Bank’s hill. The PTO carnival fundraisers and pancake dinner. It seemed like our class was always competing with the class above us. The class that fundraised the most was rewarded. I remember a couple rewards were hayrack rides through the country. It was also nice to have a brother in the class above me so if my class didn’t win I still got to celebrate. Morning Sun seemed to be in the middle so Saturday flag football days were fun, as well as, summer youth league. Going to Indian Hills Country Club in the Summer and playing endless games of gator. Riding bikes around town and going to the park with Kurt Hobbs, Nick Yoder, and Josh Saxon to play through the years.
Why do you still value your Morning Sun roots?
Most importantly it’s still home!!! Secondly, from the above responses. Some of life’s best lessons were learned in Morning Sun from those experiences. Morning Sun, the teachers, my parents, family, and friends taught me hard work pays off, serving others, lending a helping hand, and looking out for each other. It’s a place where teachers cared about their students and had passion in seeing Morning Sun kids be successful. My parents instilled in me to respect people (even if you disagree), work hard, and help your neighbors. The McElhinney Lawn Mowing Service (many may not remember) that my family had in town. We mowed upwards of 20 yards each summer. This taught me work ethic and responsibility. Finally, I will take my cue from the Cheers theme song….. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came!!!