- Dave "Duke" Werner
Dave “Duke” Werner, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Health, enters his 11th year as the University of Florida men’s basketball Athletic Trainer and his 21st year with Gator athletics, having spent the previous 10 years working with the UF baseball program. Werner is responsible for student-athletes’ daily care, as well as injury prevention and rehabilitation in the basketball program. He joined the Florida athletic training staff in June 1994.
Werner has made a tremendous impact on the Gator basketball program, and his planning is instrumental to helping the team make it through the grind of a season in good health. He has provided care to 11 future NBA draft picks, including six first-round selections. His alma mater, Eastern Kentucky, named him the 2013 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences Alumnus of the Year.
For the Gators’ 2013-14 Final Four season, which included the historic 30-game winning streak, Florida had a usual starter miss just two games due to injury, with Michael Frazier II, Will Yeguete and Patric Young all playing 39 games. Yeguete, who missed time with injury his sophomore and junior years, started all 39 games of his senior campaign. Young finished his career with 150 appearances, never missing a single game.
During the 2012-13 season, five of Florida’s regular eight-man rotation missed time due to various injuries, but Werner’s care helped three of those players miss just one game. In addition, Werner’s rehab work with Will Yeguete allowed the power forward to return from early-February arthroscopic knee surgery in time to participate in the postseason.
Only one game was missed in 2005-06 due to injury, despite significant injuries to both Lee Humphrey and Corey Brewer, due to Werner’s relentless rehabilitation. In 2006-07 Werner played an instrumental role in rehabbing Al Horford who sprained his ankle on Dec. 10 and returned just over two weeks later in time for a showdown with Ohio State. In 2007-08, the Gators had the same starting lineup for 35 of 36 games.
The Versailles, Ind., native has earned two gold medals as an Athletic Trainer with USA Basketball, at the 2013 U19 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 U18 FIBA Americas.
Werner brought to Florida an extensive background in professional sports after spending time in both the National Football League and minor league baseball. Prior to joining the Gator staff, he held a six-month Assistant Athletic Trainer position for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 1993 NFL season and served a four-year stint in the Baltimore Orioles minor league organization from 1988-91. As the head Athletic Trainer for the Orioles entries in the Gulf Coast League, Appalachian League and New York-Penn League during the span, Werner’s baseball background translates into top-notch, experienced treatment and care for the Gator players.
As the Florida baseball Athletic Trainer, Werner was responsible for the training duties over 40 future professional players. Werner also watched and helped 12 former Gators make their way through minor league baseball into Major League uniforms.
A 1991 graduate of Eastern Kentucky, he earned a degree in athletic training, as well as a teaching certificate for grades 7 through 12 in physical education and health. Werner continued his education at the University of Louisville, earning a master’s degree in sports administration in 1993. While at Louisville, he served as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Louisville athletic program and worked specifically with the Cardinal basketball, swimming and soccer programs.
The 45-year-old Werner is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida. A graduate of South Ripley High School, Werner enjoys fishing and body surfing.
He is married to the former Gwen Strayhorn, and they reside in Gainesville. The couple are the parents of two daughters, Makayla Teal, born May 17, 2005 and Catherine Grace, born Dec. 9, 2006, and one son, Colton Herman, born June 24, 2010.