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Longtime Arkansas athletic trainer Dean Weber passes away at age 78

For more than half a century, Dean Weber was a fixture at the University of Arkansas, from the sidelines to the Razorback Foundation. The Hall of Fame trainer for the Hogs, not only cared for thousands of student-athletes on his watch, but also became a dear friend to many.

After a long battle with health issues, the 78-year-old Weber passed away in Fayetteville on Tuesday, leaving behind a legacy that will live on throughout the Ozarks.

The Chantilly, Va., native joined the Arkansas training staff in 1973, and shortly replaced head athletic trainer Jim Bone following spring football of that year. His tenure went on to span 35 years and eight head football coaches.

After leaving the sidelines, Weber joined the staff at the Razorback Foundation. When he was inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame in 2018, his 45 years of service was noted as the third-longest tenure within the athletics department, behind coaching legends, Frank Broyles and Norm DeBriyn.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a true Razorback legend in Dean Weber,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “For more than 50 years, Dean has been dedicated to the University of Arkansas and the student-athletes who donned the Razorback uniform. While his accomplishments were many, his true legacy is in the thousands of relationships he formed with student-athletes, coaches, administrators and colleagues. He made a meaningful difference in the lives of so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dean’s sons Matt and Ben and all those who were blessed to know and love Dean Weber.”

Weber’s duties including far more than wrapping ankles and icing injuries. He was in charge of all the training room protocol and administration, while meeting the athletes’ nutritional needs away from campus. He also coordinated all of the football program’s travel schedule and details.

He never missed a football game during his tenure as head athletic trainer, working 416 consecutive games, before leaving the sideline following the Arkansas-Missouri Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 2008.

Weber then took on a new role as the Director of Equipment Operations, overseeing equipment operations for all 19 Razorback athletic programs. He joined the Razorback Foundation as an assistant director in 2014.

After serving three times on the athletic training staff at the National Sports Festival, Weber was selected as athletic trainer for the United States Olympic Team in 1984.

A celebration of life for Weber will be held on April 13 at 4 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena, and will coincide with the A Club Spring Reunion that weekend.

The family requests that memorial tributes be made to the Dean Weber Endowed Athletic Training Scholarship Fund, within the UA College of Education and Health Professions.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire