Published 9:11 am Thursday, July 11, 2019

By Keith Taylor

Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — For just the second time in John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky, the Wildcats will have a new head athletic trainer.

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Geoffrey Staton has been hired to replace Chris Simmons, who had served as the lead men’s basketball trainer since the 2009-10 season. Simmons returned to Memphis last month and Staton will begin his role with the team effective immediately. Staton received his master’s degree in athletic training from Kentucky in 2010.

“I am incredibly humbled and excited to return to the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation,” Staton said. “Since attending graduate school here, UK continues to be a very special place to me. The Kentucky Athletics Department and Sports Medicine staff have great leadership and both have always invested fully in the safety, well-being and success of its student-athletes. Coach Calipari is a dynamic leader who challenges his players and staff to be the best version of themselves. To work with him again and be an active part of his staff and this historic basketball tradition is a dream come true. I am thankful and blessed to have this opportunity and cannot wait to get started.”

Staton previously served as assistant athletic trainer for the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets and also has worked at the University of North Carolina and High Point University. While at Kentucky (2008-10) Staton was involved with the women’s gymnastics and dance squads. He worked with Calipari as the head trainer in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo, Egypt two years ago.

“To perform at the high level we expect of our team, we need to make sure our kids are being monitored and treated at the highest level,” Calipari said. “I’m confident Geoff’s experience in the NBA, with USA Basketball and at the college level will provide our players with the best care to perform at a high level and to maximize their athletic abilities. I’ve worked with Geoff during our USA Basketball trip in 2017 and know that Geoff has the same players-first approach that we ask of all of our staff.”

Calipari said Simmons will be missed but is glad he is returning to his hometown.

“I want to thank Chris Simmons for everything he did for us,” the Kentucky coach said. “I’m excited for Chris to be able to return home and I appreciate all that he’s done for us over the years. He’s family.”

Staton and Kentucky’s medical staff, will manage the daily healthcare of the Kentucky men’s basketball team and operation of the training room. This will include daily injury and illness management, evaluations, treatments, rehabilitation protocols, corrective exercises, recovery strategies, referrals, and post-operative care.

Staton also will work closely with the coaches and UK men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach Robert Harris to provide the best plan for players to maximize their health and athletic performance, in addition to coverage for all workouts, practices, shoot-around sessions and games.


Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.