James Madison University mourns loss of Tom Kuster

James Madison University is mourning the loss of Tom Kuster.
James Madison University is mourning the loss of Tom Kuster.(WHSV)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 9:09 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - James Madison University is mourning the loss of Tom Kuster.

Kuster died Tuesday at the age of 49 after battling colon cancer for nearly two years. He was an instrumental member of the JMU athletics department, serving as Associate Athletic Director for Integrated Health and Sports Performance.

Press Release from James Madison Athletics - Tuesday, May 17

James Madison Athletics is grieved to share news of the passing of Associate Athletic Director for Integrated Health and Sports Performance Tom Kuster, who died Tuesday, May 17, at age 49 following a nearly two-year fight with colon cancer.

“Our hearts go out to Bethany, their two sons and all of their extended family and friends with this heartbreaking loss,” Bourne said. “I haven’t met many people more kind-hearted and good-natured than Tom Kuster. He was a progressive thinker and innovator, who kept JMU on the forefront of sports medicine and performance enhancement. He possessed a special ability to identify with all people and find ways to work together, regardless of the topic, to find common ground and agreeable outcomes on difficult issues. He was a synthesizer, who could communicate and tie folks together. He had an unmatched knowledge of the institution, the industry of sports medicine and the culture of our Athletics program. That combination made him an incredible asset to us at JMU, but for all of his professional strengths, he was an even better person. He touched so many lives and will be sorely missed.”

Kuster is survived by his wife, Bethany, and their two sons, Benjamin and Samuel. Tom was a man of great faith and leaves a legacy of countless individuals, personally and professionally, who have been impacted by him.

Kuster joined the JMU sports medicine staff in 1999 and was promoted to director of sports medicine in 2006. He was further promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Integrated Health and Sports Performance in 2016. As part of that move, he supervised a staff of nearly 30 individuals with oversight of all health-related units within JMU Athletics consisting of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition and sport psychology. He also served as sport supervisor for the men’s and women’s tennis programs.

In July of 2021, Kuster was recognized with the prestigious John Randolph Inspiration Award from the Colonial Athletic Association in honor of his cancer battle amid his on-going work performance, which had been dominated by serving as the department’s lead figure in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The award recognizes individuals who, through strength of character and human spirit, serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success. A past president of the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association, Kuster was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in January.

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