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Jim graduated from Fort Hays Kansas State University in Hays, KS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education in the Fall of 1974.    He then became a Graduate Assistant at Fort Hays Kansas State University and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in the Spring of 1976.  

Jim then left the state of Kansas and became the Head Athletic Trainer/Teacher in the Health Department at Theodore Roosevelt High School in San Antonio, TX from the Fall of 1975 through the Spring of 1980.   Jim then moved to Aurora, Colorado to become the Head Athletic Trainer/Teacher in the Physical Education Department at Aurora Central High School and West Middle School from the Fall of 1980 through the Spring of 1981.   Jim then moved to Overland High School where he taught and was the Head Athletic Trainer from the fall of 1982 through the Spring of 1986.   During this time at Overland High School Jim served on the CATA community relations committee.   

In the summer of 1986 Jim worked for the Broncos Sports Medicine Clinic as an Athletic Trainer.  He then was hired in the summer of 1987, by Steve Antonnapolis to work as an Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Denver Broncos Football Club.  He worked in this capacity until June 1991 when Jim took over as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Denver Nuggets.  Jim replaced the legend Robert “Chopper” Travaglini as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Denver Nuggets, a position he held for 23 years until his retirement.  Following retirement from the Nuggets, Mr. Gillen served as an Assistant Athletic Director at Metro State University.  In this role Jim was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the Athletic Training Department as well as athletic facilities.  

Jim then became the CATA President and RMATA Board of Directors from 1993-1996 where he was instrumental in getting the medical exemption that the Certified Athletic Trainers served under until the Registration was passed July 1, 2009.  For those of you that don’t know Jim, he is a compassionate, highly skilled, and confident Athletic Trainer that has been recognized twice by the NBA by being awarded the Joe O’Toole NBA Athletic Trainer of the year for the seasons 2003-2004 and 2007-2008. 

In 2003, Jim created the “Excellence in Athletic Training Award” which is awarded to 2 high school athletic training programs and one high school athletic training students.  Each high school program was awarded $2500 and each high school athletic training student was awarded $1000 towards educational workshops.  Jim was recognized by the NATA public relations contest for the “Most Creative Program” in 2004.   Jim Gillen recognizes the winners of his annual awards each March on the court during a Denver Nuggets game.   

Jim Gillen was selected into the RMATA HOF in 2010 with Bruce Kola.  I guess it is fitting that they get inducted into the CATA HOF together as well.  Mr. Gillen is also a member of the RMATA Hall of Fame, please click on the link below to view his profile.  Additionally, the Craig Foundation has a scholarship named for Mr. Gillen in honor of his distinguished career and equally distinguished recovery from an ischemic stroke.  Please consider a donation to the Jim Gillen Athletic Educational Scholarship below.

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