NIU Hall of Fame trainer Al Kranz dead at 99

NIU Athletics Hall of Famer and trainer Al Kranz died Tuesday at the age of 99, the school announced Friday.

Kranz, who was inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989, was the athletic department’s first certified athletic trainer and served as head trainer from 1966 to 1974.

A two-time graduate of NIU, Kranz earned his bachelor’s degree in 1950 and his master’s degree in 1963. He served in the Army during World War II before enrolling at NIU, working as a student athletic trainer during his time as an undergrad (1946-50). Following his graduation, Kranz also spent time as a graduate assistant athletic trainer and a faculty assistant athletic trainer with NIU Athletics.

Kranz moved to Illinois State for two years (1964-65) to serve as its head athletic trainer before returning to NIU in 1966. After returning to NIU, Kranz became a co-founder of the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association in 1970 and garnered NIU’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1974. Kranz worked with hundreds of Huskie athletes during his time at NIU, including the undefeated 1951 football team, the 1963 college division national championship football team and the 21-win 1971-72 Huskie men’s basketball team.

Kranz left NIU in 1974 to work for Standard Oil as the chief trainer of the organization’s cardiac fitness laboratory.

In addition to the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame, Kranz was inducted into the Illinois Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 1984. He also helped establish the Al Kranz Athletic Training Scholarship for NIU Students.

Kranz is survived by his wife, Beverly Wrigley; his daughters, Debby Tanaka and Cindy (Bill) Lofthouse; his grandchildren, Nicole (Brandon) Schroeder, Michael (Laura) Lofthouse, and Mark (Asheli) Lofthouse; and his great-grandchildren, Cooper and Claire Schroeder, Jason Coulombe, Raegan Mann, Violet Lofthouse and Theodore Lofthouse.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 20 at Anderson Funeral Home in DeKalb. Military Honors will follow the service by the DeKalb American Legion. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Anderson Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Kranz Family in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 South Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115.

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