Head of Piedmont Athletics, Matthew McKinney

DEMOREST, GA— Head athletic trainer, Matthew McKinney, finds his motivation through the student athletes, fellow athletic trainers and coaches who to strive to improve their careers at Piedmont College 

“Motivation is hard to come by from time to time, especially after 15 years on the job,” McKinney said. “I find my motivation in all of the student athletes and coaches wanting to be the best at what they do. It keeps me wanting to help those people achieve their goals.”

Native of Danbury, North Carolina, McKinney received degrees from High Point University and Marshall University. In the mean time, McKinney is working towards his doctorate at East Tennessee State University. In 2007, McKinney’s first job was at Piedmont College as an athletic training assistant. However in 2010 McKinney married and moved to LaGrange College. In 2013, McKinney was brought back to Piedmont where he accepted the head athletic training job.

“I always knew I wanted to be the head of a department and I have been able to fulfill that goal at Piedmont, McKinney said.” 

McKinney faced many struggles throughout his journey becoming a head athletic trainer. One of his biggest struggles becoming the head athletic trainer was that many doubted McKinney as he was very young to be running an entire athletic department. Having to overcome the doubts and pressures of directing the athletic department at Piedmont, McKinney has proved many wrong, where he is on his eighth, successful year of leading athletic training.

“The biggest struggle I encountered was getting people to believe in a young person to lead a department,” McKinney said. “Even after being certified for eight years, people felt as though I was too young to take charge and lead a group of people to take care of the medical needs for an entire athletic department.” 

The student athletes push McKinney to be the best he can be. Watching an athlete overcome any injury is inspiring to McKinney. He added that injuries not only take away the ability to play the sport, but it takes part of a person away from them. 

“One of the best things I can remember are the moments that athletes are able to go back to their sports,” said McKinney. “They are so grateful and it is great to see them succeed.”

“I am not sure that I will retire at Piedmont College,” said McKinney. “I still have quite a few career goals left to achieve. I really want to transition to athletic administration, with the ultimate goal of being a collegiate athletic director.” 

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