SUU to Everywhere

Toni Torres-McGehee (’98)

Toni Torres-McGehee (’98) | SUU to Athletic Educator and Administrator


Originally published on March 19, 2020.

A former member of the Thunderbird women’s basketball team from 1995-1997 and a biology/zoology major, Toni Torres-McGehee is an associate professor of exercise science and the graduate director of athletic training at the University of South Carolina.

Originally from Gallup, New Mexico, Toni began her collegiate career at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona. It was there, through a sports medicine class, that she discovered the world of athletic training and she was immediately hooked. After two years at Cochise, she transferred to SUU where she learned to juggle the rigors of being a student-athlete with those of a full-time athletic training student, and was fortunate enough to be mentored by SUU greats Ricky Mendini and Ben Davidson.

“I knew I wanted to attend an institution that would allow me to continue playing basketball and seek a degree,” Toni says of her decision to become a Thunderbird. “My experience as a student-athlete and athletic training student at SUU has molded me into the person and professional that I am now.”

After completing a master’s degree at Texas Tech University and a doctorate degree at the University of Alabama, Toni accepted her current position where she wears multiple hats within her college and department, including associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and director of athletic training programs.

“In my role, I’m responsible for the budgetary and operational aspects of both our programs: professional athletic training program and post-professional athletic training program,” Toni explains.

Toni has direct oversight of $1.1 million in internal and external funding for 47 athletic trainers who are not just enrolled in the master of science athletic training program, but are also providing athletic training services within the university and around the local community.

Tori with Sir Charles Barkley
Toni third from the right

She also mentors three doctoral students within the department of exercise science, which boasts the number one ranked PhD program in the nation, according to the National Academy for Kinesiology.

Toni also takes her students out into the community to provide athletic training services to rural and intercity populations.

“In some of our communities, our athletic trainers may be the only source of healthcare that they have access to,” she says. “We do our best to teach health literacy and be an influence on some of our high school athletes to inspire them to go further in their education beyond high school, whether it’s college or a tech school.”

Through all of her hard work and accomplishments, Toni says she cherishes her time at SUU, the lessons she learned, and the memories she created with classmates.

Through all of her hard work and accomplishments, Toni says she cherishes her time at SUU, the lessons she learned, and the memories she created with classmates.

Toni and her husband Chris live in Columbia, South Carolina, with their 13-year-old Boston Terrier named Diesel. The couple enjoys time with family and friends, camping, watching SEC football and women’s basketball, NASCAR races, and time on Lake Murray."