She has worked with and for players and coaches that have become Hall of Famers at one level or another, yet Rosemary Ragle never thought she would become one herself.
But the athletic trainer for coach Geno Auriemma's University of Connecticut women's basketball team will join the club on Saturday when she is inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.
"I have absolutely no idea who nominated me," Ragle said on Wednesday. "I'm not sure exactly how the process works. I know when I finally figured out what was going on, I reached out to Geno to find out from him about it.
"I actually got an e-mail in early July that said, 'Dear Ms. Ragle, we are pleased to inform you that you have been chose to be part of whatever blah, blah, blah, blah,' and I sent it to the trash. I had no idea. I really thought that it was a joke. And because it's summer, I really haven't paid attention to my voicemail so I was in the office for a week without checking my voicemail, and one of the representatives had left me several messages. So it took me a while to kind of figure out, 'OK, this is the real deal.' "
Ashley Battle, a 2005 UConn graduate who was a member of three national championship teams with the Huskies, joins Ragle in the 2015 New England Basketball Hall of Fame class.
Ragle graduated from Troy University with a bachelor's degree in athletic training and from Louisiana State University with a masters degree in exercise science.
She has been the athletic trainer for the women's basketball team at UConn since 1999 and has also worked with the UConn men's and women's track and field teams, women's volleyball team, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams, and rowing.
The Alabama native never thought she would become a true blue New Englander.
"I was on a three-year plan," Ragle said. "Originally I was hired to work with track and field, which was a great experience. Then I got moved over to basketball. When you work with a coaching staff like ours and the caliber of athletes we have and national championships just start rolling in, it's kind of hard to leave."
For Ragle, it's all about the players.
"As I'm sitting in my new office, I have surrounded myself with pictures that I have taken with the kids over the years," Ragle said. "I hate saying anything where it sounds like I am bragging, but I really think that I do a nice job connecting with the young women on the team, especially the ones that are injured. I'm staring at this picture of Caroline Doty, and I just think that has been my biggest contribution is how I have connected with these young women.
"I think it's giving them confidence that they are going to come back," she added. "I think it's the fact that I am going to be 42 this year, and I can still have a good time with these 18, 19 and 20 year olds. Honestly, one of my favorite things to do is rehabilitation and the creativity that comes along with it. I think just them having faith in me, they know they are going to return in great form."
Not only do they return to the basketball court, they return to campus after they graduate to seek her advice and expertise.
"That means everything," Ragle said. "Kelly Faris just sent me a text this morning wanting us to go get dinner tonight. It means everything. It's what I put in the hours for. Especially those guys that go overseas ... The medical care, according to them, can be a little questionable, and they would always reach out to me and try to get my opinion or Dr. (Tom) Trojian's opinion. That's why I put in these hours. That's why I do what I do."
Among the coaches and players from UConn that are already part of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame are Auriemma, associate head coach Chris Dailey, and All-Americans Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Rizzotti, Kara Wolters, Nykesha Sales, Svetlana Abrosimova, Shea Ralph, Sue Bird, and Swin Cash. Former UConn All-American Kerry Bascom and former assistant coach Tonya Cardoza were inducted for their high school careers.
Ragle has nine national championship rings with UConn and one with the 1997 LSU women's outdoor track and field team.
She is an integral part of the Huskies' family.
"Geno has always been super easy to work with. He is very laid back," Ragle said. "He put a tremendous amount of faith in me. He does encourage me to be a part of the team. And the players, they just assume that I'm going to be where they are. And I think it helps, too, having Shea Ralph on staff who was an athlete when I was here. I think she recognizes the contribution of time and effort."
Battle, a guard from Pittsburgh, helped UConn to a national championship three-peat from 2002 to 2004 and was the 2003 Big East Defensive Player of the Year. She finished her career with 1,054 points -- reaching the 1,000 plateau on her Senior Day -- along with 696 rebounds and 191 steals. She was taken by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the 2005 WNBA Draft and went on to play most of her professional career with the New York Liberty. She is currently the girls basketball coach at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.