Jackie Knight

Director of athletic training

Jackie Knight walks past the Star Wars memorabilia cluttered in her office preparing to treat just about any medical emergency in the galaxy.

After spending her first four years at Campbell roaming the hardwood with Coach Wanda Watkins and logging 15 years of experience in the professional ranks, Knight was offered the opportunity to oversee the football program.

When Knight took over the role, only 17.5 percent of head athletic trainer positions were women, according to the National Library of Medicine. NFL scouts would step on campus and, by habit, ask for the head “guy” as Knight would step forward.

“It’s kind of nice to be able to break that mold,” said Knight, who enters her 11th season with football. “Now I think a lot of them (student-athletes) don’t really see me as being a female necessarily. It’s just, ‘That’s my trainer.’”

Fast forward a decade, Knight is humbled by the current graduate assistants who mention her pioneering efforts as the reason they entered the profession. When Knight and her team hire new trainers, they focus on culture and personality fit above all else.

“I want to make sure that people understand if you come here, we’re going to hire the best. The most important thing to me is how you can do the job.”