By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After serving the Tennessee Tech athletics department for more than 20 years, Joe Erdeljac has been promoted to assistant athletic director for sports medicine as announced by Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. He previously held the title of director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer for the past three years, head athletic trainer for 10 years, and assistant athletic trainer for seven years.
"I am humbled and thankful for this opportunity," Erdeljac expressed. "I appreciate the constant support and faith that [Director of Athletics] Mark Wilson and President [Dr. Philip] Oldham have provided me over the years and continue to show. The health and safety of our student-athletes is always a top priority for this University, and for them to put that great responsibility in my hands and those of my staff shows a great deal of trust, for which I am very thankful."
Erdeljac was and continues to be instrumental in the Golden Eagles' navigation through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing invaluable insight on the ever-changing regulations, recommendations, and implications for all Tennessee Tech student-athletes, coaches, and staff members. He worked hand-in-hand with health officials from across campus, the county, and the state to help allow Tech athletics to compete during the 2020-21 athletic season and beyond.
"Joe has been and continues to be such a critical part of the Tennessee Tech athletics' family," Wilson said. "I have no idea where we would have been and what we would have done without his incredible leadership and initiative throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that has resulted from it. We have been fortunate to have Joe with us for more than 20 years. His hard work and dedication to the well-being of our student-athletes are just small parts of what makes him the perfect fit as our assistant athletic director for sports medicine."
He currently works primarily with the Golden Eagle football team while providing support for all 14 of Tech's athletic sports programs. Erdeljac manages a staff of five full-time athletic trainers and two graduate assistant trainers. He also oversees the department's drug education and testing programs.
Erdeljac provides additional support throughout the department – including game-day support across multiple Tech home events – and serves as an assistant director of Tech's annual fundraising event, the Pepsi Bobby Nichols Golden Eagle Scramble presented by Michelob Ultra.
In the fall of 2018, Erdeljac was promoted to the title of director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer. He was named as the head athletic trainer at Tech in July 2008, kicking off his second stint working for the University.
He previously served as an assistant athletic trainer for the Golden Eagles for seven years from 1992 to 1999. During that time, he served as the athletic trainer for the men's basketball team and worked with the student-athletes on all of Tech's teams.
Between his two employment opportunities with Tennessee Tech, Erdeljac worked for nine years with high school athletes for the Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
A native of West Virginia, Erdeljac began his career in 1988 while an undergraduate at the University of West Virginia. Upon graduation with a bachelor's degree in science and physical education, he took a graduate assistant position at Austin Peay and received his master's degree in 1989.
From there, he accepted his first full-time position as an assistant athletic trainer at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, a post he held until being hired for a similar assignment at Tech under former head athletic trainer David Green.
After seven years at the University, he accepted a position in 1999 with the Cookeville Regional Medical Center as head athletic trainer for Upperman High School in Baxter, a position he held until accepting the top post in Tech's sports medicine department in 2008.
During his time with CRMC, he was a volunteer athletic trainer at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.