L.F. "Tow" Diehm
University of New Mexico 1994
Known as the "Father of Athletic Training" in the State of New Mexico, Tow became the Head Athletic Trainer at the University of New Mexico in August, 1957, and remained in that position until he became UNM’s Associate Athletic Director in 1988. Born in Mildred, KS, in 1924, he graduated from Paola High School in Paola, Kansas, in 1943. He was a World War II veteran and received a Purple Heart for his wounds received during the invasion of Normandy Beach in June, 1944. He was honorably discharged in April, 1946, and began his athletic training career at Santa Rosa Junior College in California working with his former high school coach, Carnie Smith.
Tow followed Carnie to Pittsburgh State Teachers College where he earned a Bachelor's and a Master’s Degree. This is where he met and married his wife, Pearl, in 1950. After graduation, Tow became the Assistant Athletic Trainer at Michigan State University. A year later, Tow began his long and faithful career at UNM as Head Athletic Trainer. Over the next 30 years he established one of the first educational programs in Athletic Training in the United States, promoted the hiring of athletic trainers in Albuquerque High Schools and around the State of New Mexico, lobbied for and secured passage of one of the first licensure laws governing athletic training in the United States, and was one of the founders of the New Mexico Athletic Trainers Association.
Tow was a Charter Member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He served as Chairman of the Board of the National Athletic Trainers Association, established and chaired the NATA Ethics Committee, and hosted the 1962 NATA meeting in Albuquerque, NM.
His many honors include the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, the New Mexico Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame, the UNM Athletic Department Hall of Honor, the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Award, and the UNM Regents Meritorious Service Award. UNM also honored Tow's memory in naming an athletic facility after him.
Tow passed away on May 1, 1998. His son Gary followed his father into the profession of athletic training.