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Athletic Trainers


The early days of football in regards to athletic care and prevention were primitive compared to today’s standards and the adage, “Just rub some dirt on it!” was—and to a certain degree still is—commonplace in the football culture as players are expected to play through pain.  Not much is known about Ray Townsley except for the historical records on file indicate that he served as Bettendorf’s first uncertified trainer in 1953; “uncertified” only because in those days there was no such thing as a Certified Athletic Trainer. 



Darrell Moore served as an assistant football coach under Merrit Parsons from 1958-60 and for the available archival records, pulled double duty his last two seasons as the Bulldog’s athletic trainer.  Like Ray Townsley, it is doubtful that Mr. Moore was a Certified Athletic Trainer simply because accreditation didn’t exist in those days; regardless, his care and prevention helped the Bulldogs win three straight conference titles and go unbeaten for 26-straight games from 1958-60



Dan “Doc” Meador became the first full-time athletic trainer in Bettendorf history in 1961 and served in that capacity for nine seasons before being replaced by Bettendorf’s first certified trainer, Reggie Speak.  At the time, Mr. Meador was considered the first official athletic trainer in the State of Iowa and Bettendorf High School was unique in the fact that they were virtually the only high school in the state with a full-time trainer on staff.  Mr. Meador also taught Social Studies for over thirty years at Bettendorf High School and was infamous for his paddle that bore the names of voluntary signees.



Reginald “Reggie” Speak may have been raised in Weeping Water, Nebraska, but after spending 22 years as the Athletic Trainer for the Bulldogs, he still calls Bettendorf home. A 1955 graduate of Peru State College (Nebraska), Mr. Speak began his career at Webster City High School under legendary Lynx coach Harley Rollinger in 1962.  However, after spending eight seasons with the Lynx, Mr. Speak then became a Bulldog where he served under another legendary coach, Merv Habenicht, from 1970-72, and his career as a trainer, healer, and person would be historic.         

Mr. Speak has earned countless honors and was among the first Certified High School Athletic Trainers in both the state of Iowa and nation.  In 1974, Mr. Speak was a presenter at the National Athletic Trainer Association Workshop and Symposium while being named the Drake Relays Trainer of the Year in 1981.  Mr. Speak also earned a commendation from the NATA for service to the Continuing Education Committee.

The trainer for the first four Bettendorf state championship squads (1981, ’87, ’88, ’91), Mr. Speak also earned a commendation from both the Iowa Athletic Directors (1992) and the Iowa Football Coaches Association.  As well, he also received a Sports Medicine Award from the IHSAA—the first trainer to receive such an award—while founding and directing Student Trainer Clinics for over 20 years. “Coach Speak”—as many players called him—cited that while he has had many countless thrills during his 22 years at Bettendorf, some of the most memorable include:  beating Davenport Central featuring tailback Roger Craig [who later became an NFL All-Pro] and receiving a commendation by the IFCA presented by former Iowa Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry.  Among the four state titles he helped Bettendorf win as an athletic trainer, Mr. Speak feels that his biggest thrill was “…being the Bulldog Athletic Trainer for 22 years.”

For several years until the 2004 season, Mr. Speak used to provide pre-and-post game prayers for the Bulldogs and after a five-year layoff, resumed this responsibility in 2008.  Always remembered as “The One Who Could Heal,” Mr. Speak’s oath to help injured players earned him both the respect and gratitude of countless Bulldogs whose dreams and goals were accomplished on account of his work.  On July 15, 2005, Mr. Speak was inducted into the Athletic Trainers "Hall of Honor" in Cedar Falls, Iowa.



Paul Flynn is a native of Madrid (IA), and came to Bettendorf High School in the fall of 1992 to replace long-time Athletic Trainer Reggie Speak.  His interest in Sports Medicine began when he was a student at the University of Iowa where he served as the Head Student Trainer from 1981-82 and traveled extensively with numerous athletic teams including the football squad and their trip to the 1982 Rose Bowl.  Certified by the NATA in 1983, Mr. Flynn first taught Biology at Parkway North High School (Creve Coeur, MO) from 1984-85 where he also served as the school’s Certified Athletic Trainer. 

In 1985, Mr. Flynn relocated to North Scott High School where he taught Biology and Health while also serving as the Lancers’ Athletic Trainer.  Paul was at North Scott for seven years from 1985-92 prior to becoming a Bulldog.  At Bettendorf, Mr. Flynn teaches Biology, Chemistry, and Health and was the school’s only Certified Athletic Trainer until another position was added in 2000.  Mr. Flynn has helped facilitate the expansion of the school’s Athletic Training Program and oversaw its moved from a small space located in the boys’ locker room to its current location in the BHS Fitness Center.

Mr. Flynn has earned numerous honors throughout his career.  For starters, he was inducted into the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society “Hall of Fame” in 2007 and in was not only awarded the “National Service Award” by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2006, but also named by the Iowa High School Athletic Union as “Sports Person of the Year” the same year.

Paul has also served as President of the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society from 1990-92 and during his presidency much of the groundwork was laid for licensing the profession of athletic training in the state of Iowa.  He also was a District 5 representative for the Secondary Schools Athletic Trainers’ Committee from 1992-98 while also being part of the NATA National Committee in 1992, 1998, and 1999.


A four-sport high school athlete in his hometown of Northwood (IA), Eric Knudson fell in love with sports at an early age and such that, made his passion a full-time occupation.  As a student at the University of Northern Iowa, Eric served as the Head Student Trainer for the football, wrestling, and softball teams which included the football team’s appearance in the1997 Division I-AA Semifinals.  After graduating in 1997, Eric first taught Health and served as a Certified Athletic Trainer for the Davenport School District from 1997-2000 and while at Davenport, Eric also coached 7th grade girls’ basketball and volleyball. 

Knudson, who also earned a Masters of Science in Sports Management degree from Western Illinois, came to Bettendorf in 2000 when the Athletic Training Program was expanded.  Eric also teaches Health at Bettendorf High and has a wide range of Sports Medicine experience which includes working with the Bulldogs’ football, basketball, soccer, swimming, and golf teams—all which have won state championships.  As well, Knudson has been an ATC at the Division I Wrestling Tournament (1997), a Clinical/Outreach Athletic trainer at Plaza Physical Therapy (1998-2000), and the Head Athletic Trainer for MaryCrest International University (1998-2000).

Eric is also a member of both the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Mid-American Athletic Trainers Association; as part of the Iowa Athletic Trainers Society, he served a chair on the Secondary Schools Committee from 2003-07 and since 2007, has been the Executive Treasurer for the IATS.