PROVO, Utah — No one in BYU athletics history repaired more bumps, bruises,
sprains, breaks or pulls than Marv Roberson. And some say no one has
ever done it better.
On Sunday, the legendary figure died from
complications of a monthlong battle with bacterial infection. He was
"He was just a wonderful man and a
wonderful trainer, and we're surely going to miss him," BYU track coach
Mark Robison said.
Football trainer Kevin Morris is one of
many at BYU mourning Roberson's death. "It was a sad day when we learned
that we lost one of the true good guys."
Roberson began at BYU as a track athlete
in the late 1950s. Two decades later he returned to the university as
the athletic department's sole trainer — handling the duties for all
sports. Now each sport has its own trainer.
"What we're going to miss most is his
vast wealth of knowledge," Robison said. "He was just incredible in
diagnosis. If a kid had a problem, Marv could find out what it was and
then fix it."
He officially retired from BYU in 1989
after 23 years to open a private physical therapy practice, but he
continued to diagnose and treat Cougar athletes as recently as last
month. Roberson even treated some of his longtime clients and friends at
his Provo home.
"He was just old school, and that's what
people liked. He was the best I've ever been around," Robison said.
Roberson came from the last generation of
trainers who did most of their work hands on, without instruments,
machines and gadgets. He nursed athletes back to health with his hands,
arms and elbows. Athletes at BYU called him "Magic Fingers Marv" and
"We all laugh when we hear those stories
about when Marv leaned on someone's quad or hamstring with his elbows
and about how bad that hurt. But everyone then says that even though it
hurt, they all got better," Morris said.
Robison's track athletes relied on
Roberson's skills often. "He did get the pain out, but sometimes it was
painful doing it."
Beyond his ties at BYU, Roberson was also
a well-known figure in athletic training and physical therapy around
the world. He traveled often to the Scandinavian countries to put on
clinics and teach techniques, which were used for decades on many of the
world's top Olympic athletes.
"He was very well respected not only
nationally, but internationally as well," Morris said.
Roberson is survived by his wife, Doris,
and their three children — Echo, Dina and Conrad. Services will be held
Friday at 11 a.m. at the Grandview South Stake Center at 1122 N. Grand