Former longtime Miami Heat trainer Ron Culp, whom the Heat hired as an expansion team in 1988, passed away earlier this week. He worked with Miami until his retirement in 2008. He was 75 years old. His daughter announced the news in a Facebook post.
Our Miami HEAT family is with heavy hearts upon learning of the passing of original Miami HEAT Athletic Trainer Ron Culp. Our most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the Culp family during this time. pic.twitter.com/4QQt1leHCI— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) June 15, 2021
Throughout his 24 years with the Miami Heat, Culp was a fixture on the sidelines, sitting next to assistant coaches. When Heat players suffered injuries, Culp tended to them. Wade called him “Pops.”
The Heat retired Culp’s name in a banner in the newly renamed FTX Arena — close to the retired jerseys of players like Wade, Chris Bosh and Alonzo Mourning — and named the training room after him.
Three times throughout his career, the NBA named him the Trainer of the Year.
Miami has only had two trainers in the franchise’s entire history — Culp and current trainer Jay Sabol, who worked under Culp for 13 years before becoming the head trainer.