National Athletic Trainers’ Association to induct NIU alums Tessendorf, Kalisiak to hall of fame

William Tessendorf and Roger Kalisiak

William Tessendorf and Roger Kalisiak

Two Northern Illinois alumni, William Tessendorf and Roger Kalisiak, will be inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Hall of Fame.

Tessendorf and Kalisiak will be inducted Thursday, June 28, at the NATA 63rd annual meeting in St. Louis.

Honorees are recognized for their work in advancing the athletic training profession, including scholarly research, clinical advancements and strong leadership.

Since inducting its first class in 1962, the Hall of Fame has inducted 260 members. Both Tessendorf and Kalisiak were mentored by Al Kranz, a 1989 NIU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and NIU’s first certified athletic trainer.

Tessendorf worked in the National Football League for 38 years, beginning as an assistant athletic trainer with the Cleveland Browns in 1973. Tessendorf moved with the Browns franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and earned NATA’s Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 1998.

Promoted to the Ravens’ vice president of Medical Services in 2005, Tessendorf earned the Fain Cain Memorial Award as the outstanding NFL trainer of the year in 2009 and was the longest tenured athletic trainer in the NFL when he retired in 2011.

“It was extremely unexpected,” Tessendorf said.

“I am surprised and honored to be inducted and included with the leaders and founders of our profession. It is very humbling to be a part of this group and it is wonderful that I have the opportunity to enter the Hall of Fame with Roger (Kalisiak); he was a freshman when I was a senior (at NIU). This is a great honor, and I owe a great deal to Al Kranz for everything he did for me as my mentor at NIU.”

Kalisiak was an assistant athletic trainer at NIU from 1973 to 1975 before moving to Hoffman Estates High School, where he worked as a teacher and athletic trainer for 32 years. Kalisiak was inducted into the Illinois Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 1991 and earned the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from NATA in 1995.

Logo of the National Athletic Trainers’ AssociationKalisiak was honored twice by the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association: in 2002 with the Golden Pinnacle Award and in 2012 with the Dedicated Service Award.

“This honor means a great deal to me,” Kalisiak said.

“It validates many of the things I strived for in my career. Northern Illinois gave me a great background and the tools to be successful, and I would not be where I am if not for NIU. I was surprised and humbled to receive this honor; it took a lot of hard work and effort and much of the credit goes to Al Kranz, who became like my second father at NIU. He created a wonderful family atmosphere within the department and that is why it is special to be inducted with Bill (Tessendorf), who was like an older brother to me.”

Tessendorf and Kalisiak also will be recognized at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s Lecture Series. The lecture will take place in the McCareins Auditorium at the Yordon Center.

For more information on Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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