Coach Interviews

Nate Tuatagaloa
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Utah Valley University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I was always into the strength and conditioning part of sports. I loved the internal battle I would wage on myself to better myself. It wasn’t until I got hurt. I tore my meniscus. The rehab I got was subpar and I knew I could find something better to get me back on to the field. That’s when I became familiar with proper movement of the body. It was something very similar to the FMS system. Not only did I get back faster onto the playing field but also I felt better before my injury. That’s what sparked my interest in the field. I always thought I would be a football coach but I fell in love with helping all athletes. That’s when I decided to get into strength and conditioning.
2) How did you get your start?
I was doing private stuff in training athletes. I started with young age groups (7 – 9 years olds) and progressed into training high school athletes. I didn’t get my big break until I was offered the position of assistant strength and conditioning coach to a man that I admire and was an outlier as far as the strength and conditioning world went. He is an expert in movement and increasing explosiveness in athletes. I couldn’t wait to get started and learn even more from him.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My philosophy will always be to create an injurious free, agile, explosive and powerful athlete with a very high work capacity. My methods of achieving that adapts to what new evidence based research as so it should be. As of now, in a nut shell, we first start with soft tissue work (foam rolling), muscle engagement (e.g glute bridge), movement prep or dynamic warm-up, agility focus, and then strengthening. I use the FMS screening and other movement assessments to address any deficiency in movement. I get some odd looks from other strength and conditioning coaches when I say I believe that being healthy is more important than being strong. That doesn’t mean that strength is not important. Everything I do based on the individual. We progress and regress when needed. I am Olympic based with many methods attached to it. The athlete needs to be healthy (preventive injuries), strong, agile (ability to create stiffness and change of direction), powerful (e.g. top speed), and explosive while recruiting the proper muscles to engage that certain movement.
4) What do you feel sets UVU strength & conditioning apart?
I feel we treat every athlete here as an individual while holding them accountable to the betterment of the team. We create lifelong relationships because we do everything we can to help an individual reach their wanted outcome. We learn from the student athletes like they learn from us. The biggest part of our strength and conditioning is the knowledge they attain from our program for the overall care of their body. Not just strengthening it. Even though UVU is not a major collegiate sports program, we do our best to treat the athletes like they are. What we lack in resources we make up in resourcefulness. At the end of the day, the student athletes know that we care for them.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Make sure you are getting into this field for the right reasons. As many will tell you, we do this because of our passion for it. It definitely isn’t the money although many have gotten lucky. If you get in for the money, you will be disappointed. My next advice will be to find a mentor who has the same belief systems as you. I was fortunate to find one and a good one. Remember you not that important so be open-minded and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER STOP LEARNING.

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John Henderson
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Weber State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I have always had an interest in strength training and athletics. I was always training and trying new programs. I started looking into areas that i could make a career out of what I loved doing and discovered that training athletes was what I wanted to do. When seeking out degree options I found Athletic Training. I knew it was related to the field and could give me many options for career development. Following that I went to grad school for Sports Performance and Conditioning.
2) How did you get your start?
My first opportunity came after begging the Head Strength Coach at Weber State university (Eric Hohn) for an internship. After three years of knocking on his door, he gave me a shot. Following graduation he hired me as his assistant. I worked part time as a strength coach and part time as an athletic trainer. The dual credential has no question expedited my career track faster than expected. My first head position was at Cal State Monterey Bay as Head Athletic Trainer. I beat out some really good candidates for that position only because I was a strength and conditioning coach, which CSUMB did not have. Returning to WSU as the head strength coach was another example of the dual credential paying dividends. Our Asst AD for Strength and Conditioning is also the Head Athletic Trainer. I have been asked many times which field I enjoy more. The reality is that I have never been able to seperate them.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Our strength and conditioning program at Weber State University is designed to develop the athletes’ total athletic performance capabilities. Strength and conditioning is conducted in a manner that plans multiple peaks throughout the athletes’ competitive season as well as career. All programs are constructed around the following list of program goals and objectives;
All programs will be evidence based and include some form of progressive overload and periodization.
I. Injury prevention.
• Attain optimal range of motion and flexibility for all joints and muscles.
• Develop balanced strength and stability around joints.
• Train balance and proprioception.
• Purposeful strength and flexibility training of injury prone areas in general and for specific sports.
II. Athletic performance enhancement.
• Priority of training will be on movements, not muscles.
• Explosive power will be developed through the use of Olympic lifts and plyometrics.
• Core strength lifts will include squats, dead lifts, pressing and pulling lifts in bilateral and unilateral variations.
• Train athletic movements/ basic motor skills
• Develop aerobic/ anaerobic conditioning programs based on sports specific metabolic demands.
III. Develop discipline, leadership, accountability, and mental toughness.
IV. Provide a safe, competitive, energetic and positive training environment.
V. Provide education and resources on the topics of sports nutrition and recovery.
VI. Develop core strength using various methods and exercises. This will contribute to enhanced performance and injury prevention.
VII. Programs will be sequential and progressive.
4) What do you feel sets Weber State strength & conditioning apart?
One thing that makes Weber State unique is our collaboration with the sports medicine staff. Our staff is all dual credentialed as ATC/CSCS and we utilize the ATs who are certified in our department. Our number one goal is injury prevention. The quickest way to improve performance is to make sure our athletes stay on the field. We are striving to create a model (which exists in a few other schools) that is a symbiotic relationship between strength and conditioning and athletic training. Our athletes continue to train during when injured and we are able to accomodate them with a strong understanding of what is indicated and contraindicated. We also have incredible support from the administration and University. Our facilites are top of the line and we have a great transition through all phase of performance and rehabilitation which gives us a true “Athletic Performance” program.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Getting into strength and conditioning at the collegiate level can be an uphill climb. Start by getting to know the strength staff at your university. Seek out mentors and internships. Its easy to get the minimal requirements to be a strength coach. Go a step further and obtain additional skills, certifications, and relationships. The referal from a respected strength coach may be the best piece of the puzzle to break into the industry. Finally, be unrelenting in pursuing opportunities. I had to come back 3 years in a row before the Head Strength Coach gave me a chance. Without that relationship I would have not made it to where I am today.

http://www.weberstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=8600&ATCLID=204817603 – Coach Henderson Bio

http://www.weberstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=8600&KEY=&ATCLID=205015159 – Weber State Strength & Conditioning Page
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Charles Stephenson                                                                                                                     
Strength & Conditioning Coach for Men’s Basketball
University of Utah

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I loved sports and used strength training to help me become a better athlete.  I
had shoulder surgery that shortened my baseball career.  But I loved working out
and helping athletes so I chose to learn more about sports performance training
and pursue it as a career.
2) How did you get your start?
I started my career as a student strength coach at William and Mary.  The
school didn’t have a strength coach so I worked with baseball and men’s
basketball.  From there I went to UVA for grad school and be a GA strength
coach.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Ground base Olympic lifts. Use FMS screen to correct imbalances in flexibility and strength.  Establish technique and mobility before overload.
4) What do you feel sets Utah strength & conditioning apart?
The thing that helps us is our strength staff is united and a team.  Each team member supports one another.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Seek out good mentors.  Establish a philosophy.  Do what you believe in and do
it well.

http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/stephenson_charles00.html – Coach Stephenson Bio.

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Jevon Bowman                                                                                                                                Head Strength & Conditioning Coach                                                                               University of South Dakota

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
After finishing playing football at the University of South Dakota with my degree in physical education and health, I couldn’t see myself teaching every day in a class room setting and I did not want to leave athletics so I stayed. At that time we had a graduate student that was trying to start a strength program as we transitioned into D-1AA. He was eventually hired as the head coach and asked if I would like to be is 1st graduate assistant and get the program running. I took that opportunity and ran with it, he had the position for about a year and decided he would go run the family’s farm in Iowa, meaning I was to run the show all summer by myself as a 1st year graduate student. After my interim stint I said this is the life train highly motivated athletes to be the best they can be and staying in college athletics at the D-1 level, who wouldn’t want this job. So I had two interim stints here at the University of South Dakota in a matter of a year and a half, and then was offered the full time head job in 2010 and took it over. So in short I helped to start the program and kept it running through the transition and build and continue to build a top notch strength program.
2) How did you get your start? 

I started as a volunteer assistant to the graduate student who was trying to start a strength program at the University of South Dakota in 2007. As mentioned above, I was offered the graduate assistant position when he was hired full time, he left to pursue another career I took the interim spot for 4 months, worked under another head coach for 6 months and then was offered the head job in 2010. I tell everyone I took the fast track to take over a program that was transitioning from a D-2 school to a D-1 school and I was very blessed to have this opportunity to build a program like this!
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Man this question is asked often and is very loaded!! My philosophy is linked or matched to what our different programs do here at the University of South Dakota. First off I would have to say that we have a very intense tempo to match the way we play I like to call it “controlled chaos” along with sound teaching techniques and safety protocols. Our goal is to create a competitive atmosphere as it would be in a game and push each individual athlete to reach their full athletic potential. We do this be recognizing the needs of the athletes and addressing them on an individual but team basis. At the end of day we need to keep our athletes on their competitive grounds playing at their highest potential possible with reducing the risk of injury and decline of athletic performance.
4) What do you feel sets South Dakota strength & conditioning apart?
We have a comprehensive approach to strength and conditioning meaning, we considered everything the athlete is going through. Whether that is mental stress, physical stress, what he/she sport is doing at practice or games and we accommodate to the individual in a manner that allows them to continue to play at their highest level. The line of communication between the coaches and the strength staff is very important to us so we do not take away from each other! Also, maybe the most important thing is we create an environment that makes athletes WANT to TRAIN, not feel like it is a chore. Our athletes have great pride in what we do and we teach them the why behind what we do and they then have respect for the program and staff.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Man I would say that never stop learning and always be willing to talk “shop” or pick other coaches brains. Another thing that I have done with myself and assistants is make it a point to read everything there is about this profession we are always evolving and you can always pick something up that you could tweak, so we read a book a month as a staff and then discuss it. Lastly, you need to be willing to put in the hours and love what you do! This “job” if you call it that is a passion to me and that makes coming to “work” very easy! If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me and I will respond in a timely manner! Jevon.Bowman@usd.edu
Thank you to Eldon for this great opportunity to get the program out there!

http://www.usdcoyotes.com/sports/football/bio.asp?PLAYER_ID=3134 – Coach Bowman Bio.

http://www.usdcoyotes.com/info/strength/ – South Dakota Strength & Conditioning Page

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Bob Alejo                                                                                                                             Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning                                                           North Carolina State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
As a former competitive powerlifter and olympic lifter, I enjoyed weight training and I wanted to be a part of athletics.
2) How did you get your start? 

After I had graduated, I was walking down the hall at school (California State Univ Chico) the head track coach called me into his office and showed me the National Strength Coaches Association Journal (later changed to the National Strength and Conditioning Association) and mentioned I might want to look into that. I did, liked it and to make a long story short I visited Al Vermiel at pre-season camp with the SF 49ers and after watching and talking with him I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I began at a local hospital-based sports medicine center working with local athletes while also working with the football team at CSU Chico. My first full-time job was at UCLA in 1984.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Evidenced and experienced based training programs- the basics! The basic training principles and theories have worked and will work forever. That being said, I am constantly reviewing research and talking to colleagues about current trends and results. Sometimes, if it’s not broken don’t fix it; sometimes if it’s not broken you’re not looking hard enough! I am always willing to adjust as long as the evidence is compelling and overwhelming that a modification or new implementation improves from what is in place.
4) What do you feel sets North Carolina State strength & conditioning apart?
You can only answer that question if you are certain what is happening in other programs on a daily basis. The only thing I am certain of is that no one knows with 100% certainty goes on in every program! In other words, if a strength coach at X University says that “I pay attention to detail; that’s what sets us apart”, that’s an insult to other programs that pay attention to detail by implying that no one pays attention to detail but X University.
I can tell you a few things that we focus on- 1) Exceptional technique with all lifts. For example, an athlete might power clean 200lbs but if it isn’t technically correct ( speed, form, angle of the knees at the catch) the lift in our eyes would be “no good” for a test. We want the exercise to produce the intended result. In this case, a power clean is not effective just because it goes from the floor to the shoulders. It’s effective when the correct technique (body angles during the lift, speed) is use to efficiently deliver power so that there is a carryover to sprinting, jumping, etc. 2) Yearly plans. We want to have a 52-week plan ready at the start of each training year; a template. Not necessarily all the workouts written but a guideline of peaks, intensities, volumes, emphasis, etc.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Ask great questions to get great answers as it relates to training, research, results and performance. Stay firm on what you know to be true. In our business people tend to interpret results without a basis for theory or hypothesis. Two things here- an opinion is one thing; and informed opinion takes effort and thought. Secondly, one can have an opinion but one cannot have their own facts. Lastly, don’t continue to do things only because that’s what’s been done in the past or because that’s the way you’ve always done them. Two things here- A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. And, Some things are evidently clear- the world is obviously flat. Be critical of methods and philosophies to be sure they have basis.

http://www.gopack.com/genrel/alejo_bob00.html – Coach Alejo Bio.

http://www.gopack.com/strength/ncst-strength.html – NC State Strength & Conditioning Page

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Jason Gallucci
Director of Strength & Conditioning
Princeton University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Strength training has been part of my every day routine since I was a freshman in high school.  I have had great teachers along the way.  My father in high school and John Thomas at Penn State, are two individuals that have had a tremendous impact on my life.  In both cases, strength training was more than simply moving weight.  Life lessons were taught in a very simple, tangible way.  So while I am addicted to competition and the physical challenge strength training offers, I decided to get into strength and conditioning because I wanted to have the same positive effect on athletes as my mentors have had on me.  The success I am enjoying now, I owe to them.
2) How did you get your start? 

I started as a volunteer for Coach Thomas at Penn State.  After a year of hard work and dedication to his program, Coach Thomas offered me a graduate assistantship.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
First and foremost our programs are designed to help prevent injury.  With that in mind, we then set our goals on enhancing performance potential.  How we go about this will vary from team to team but the underlying principles remain the same.  Whether we are using Olympic lifts, tradition powerlifts, or machines we will:
    –       Coach our Athletes Hard.  This doesn’t mean we are going to yell and scream at them all day long (although I am not ruling that out) rather that we are going to hold them accountable to performing every repetition with perfect technique and the proper intensity.
    –        Train the Entire body.  Balance across the joints is extremely important to injury prevention and performance potential.
–        Apply Progressive Overload principles.  No explanation necessary here.
–       Allow for Proper Rest and Recovery.  As a school without training table, it is important that we educate our student-athletes on how to properly fuel their bodies to aid in recovery.  Also with the high academic standards at Princeton, we constantly reinforce the role sleep plays in not only recovery but growth potential as well.
–        Use Variety.  We have many, many tools in the shed.  As much as possible we like to break them out to change up from the everyday routine.
4) What do you feel sets Princeton strength & conditioning apart?

There are many great strength coaches in the country and they are running fantastic programs.  We all have unique circumstances and challenges and it is exciting to see how we are growing as a profession.  So it is hard to say what sets us apart, but much like any business, it is the quality of people you are surrounded by that will ultimately determine your success.  I have said it before, and I will stick to it, I feel I have the best staff in the country assisting me.  They make up for all my shortcomings and then some.  Also, we have great support from our sport coaches, and our athletes are extremely competitive.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Have a relentless pursuit of a comprehensive education.  Pursue a degree, preferably and advanced degree, in a field related to strength and conditioning, volunteer as much as possible to learn from veteran strength coaches, and research constantly.  Along the way it is critical that you maintain an open mind to new ideas and concepts so you begin to develop your own philosophy.  Volunteering in multiple places will expose you to different ideas as well as begin to build your professional network.  Of course while volunteering it is critical that you are not only a tireless worker, but prove to be an asset to the staff.  Landing your first job in this field may not be easy, be prepared to pay your dues.

http://www.goprincetontigers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10600&ATCLID=1404692 – Coach Gallucci Bio.
https://admin.xosn.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10600&ATCLID=1404678 – Princeton Strength & Conditioning Page.
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Veronica Dyer
Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports
Syracuse University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I’ve always enjoyed the fitness industry and as a college track athlete I spent a lot of time in the weight room. During grad school I held a graduate assistant position which included working as a strength coach in addition to assisting with the track & field team. After several years of coaching track and working as a personal trainer I decided that I was most “at home” in the weight room training college level athletes. I no longer had to worry about recruiting athletes or clients, I could just focus creating programs for my various teams.
2) How did you get your start? 

I got my start in grad school as a graduate assistant for three years at Syracuse University. I spent one year at Northwest Missouri State as a volunteer track coach and part time strength coach before returning to SU in my current position.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

To first make everyone a better overall athlete by establishing a ground base of basic strength and conditioning. From there we work on developing athleticism specific to their sport.
4) What do you feel sets Syracuse strength & conditioning apart?
We have established an environment of total athlete development. We’re not afraid to try new things but at the same time we also like to stick with what works. The trust and freedom from our team coaches enables us to train each individual/team in a way that will not only make them better athletes on the field but off the field as well. We help them learn and establish habits that will not only help them in their sport but also in their lives for the long term. Ideal diet, sleep habits, and recovery techniques are some of the areas that we constantly keep our athletes informed on.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Always keep learning, whether it be through reading, going to seminars & workshops, or just chatting with other professionals in this and related fields. The more diverse your skill set the better you are able to address the needs of your athletes.

http://www.suathletics.com/staff.aspx?staff=71 – Coach Dyer Bio.
http://www.liviafit.com/ – Coach Dyer’s Website.

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Nate Brookreson
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Eastern Washington University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
After earning my exercise science degree from Central Washington and playing football, I knew I wanted to work with athletes. Initially I was intrigued with the “speed” training facilities because I thought no one would take me seriously in collegiate strength and conditioning being a wide receiver in college and not looking like a lot of the big time college strength and conditioning coaches. After working in Florida at Cris Carter’s FAST Program and Velocity Sports Performance in Washington, I realized I wanted to be in a setting where I had complete autonomy to design the programs for my athletes, from flexibility to speed to strength, and I wanted to be able to work with athletes for longer than several months, which was typically how long I was seeing people in the private realm. So I took a graduate assistantship position at the University of Georgia and volunteered with their Olympic Strength and Conditioning department and I was hooked.
2) How did you get your start? 

As I mentioned above, I started as a volunteer assistant at the University of Georgia, assisting Jeremy Heffner (now with Baylor women’s basketball) with his programs. It was an incredible experience and I learned so much in a short period of time from the coaches there. After working there for a year, I was offered an assistant position at Eastern Washington University, working with their basketball programs, as well as soccer and track and decided it was best for my career and my family to take the position. I have now been at EWU since 2008, and took over as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach in October of 2010.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

Loaded question! My philosophy is very linked to the philosophy of the football program at Eastern Washington University. We have an up tempo, no huddle offensive system that emphasizes the passing game which requires agile, lighter offensive linemen and extremely athletic receivers and backs. The offenses in our league (Big Sky) are mostly no huddle, read-option running offenses that require stout defensive tackles, lighter, more athletic defensive ends and linebackers, and strong, physical corners and safeties. When the athlete arrives at the school, I will look at their initial level of preparedness, their anatomical characteristics, and address these needs first and foremost. Then I will look at the requirements of their position and get them ready to play at a level necessary to be successful. Athletes come from all backgrounds and training situations and it is my job to recognize what needs to be addressed when they walk through the door to train with me. And ultimately we look to create an environment that encourages competitiveness, camaraderie, and intensity because football training is a physically and mentally draining process that needs to be presented in a manner that encourages kids to “want to” train, not “have to” train.
4) What do you feel sets Eastern Washington strength & conditioning apart?

We consistently examine where our athletes are in the training program and try to modify and tweak it based off their individual needs. We make sure we are constantly communicating with our coaches to ensure that everything, from practice intensity to individual workouts to group training sessions, is considered in the overall training model and that one area is not detracting from another. This is definitely an area I believe that many coaches need to recognize: we can’t look at what we do as strength and conditioning coaches in a bubble. There must be tremendous communication between the strength and conditioning department and the sport coaches, athletic trainers and other support staff so they understand what the plan is for the athlete and that we are working together to achieve that plan. 
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Read everything that’s not nailed down about training, attend all the conferences you can afford, talk to other coaches and pick their brains, and never think you’re too good to talk to anyone coming up in this industry when you finally “make it.” I will answer any email in due time if anyone has any questions that I haven’t addressed in this write-up: natebrookreson@yahoo.com. Thanks Eldon for this opportunity!

http://goeags.com/genrel/mtt/brookreson_nate00.html – Coach Brookreson Bio.
http://goeags.com/ath-training/ewas-strength-conditioning.html – Eastern Washington Strength & Conditioning Page.

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Mike Favre
Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports
University of Michigan

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Stumbled upon the profession to be honest. I had never heard of it, only things like personal training and physical therapy. I was competing in powerlifting and that helped push toward it along with the exercise science degree I was in.
2) How did you get your start? 

Rich Wenner at Arizona State University hired me as an intern for a semester and then offered me the undergraduate assistant position followed later by the graduate assistant position. I spent two years there before accepting a job with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Thirteen years later I ended up at Michigan.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

Our philosophy revolves around the predominate use of ground-based multi-joint movement patterns during the weight training portion of the program while concurrently addressing the specific metabolic demands of each sport. All aspects of the performance enhancement programs adhere strictly to industry accepted, scientifically supported methodologies. This is straight off our web page. In regards to ground-based movements we use weightlifting movements (cleans, jerks, snatches, pulls, etc) along with the traditional strength movements (squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.). I can go on for hours on the details of the how, when, why, and what.
4) What do you feel sets Michigan strength & conditioning apart?

The individual attention every one of our student-athletes receives on a daily basis along with the level of experience and knowledge of the staff is easily among the best anywhere. We also work as one dynamic group rather than a collection of individuals.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Integrity, never lose sight of it. Too many people are out there inventing their own science nowadays and it’s killing our profession.

http://www.mgoblue.com/genrel/favre_mike00.html – Coach Favre’s Bio.
http://www.mgoblue.com/genrel/oly-strength-conditioning.html
 – Michigan Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning Page.
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Allen Hedrick
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Colorado State University-Pueblo

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I had long been interested in strength and conditioning during my playing days at the high school and junior college level.  After I was done playing football I continued to train simply because it was something I enjoyed.  During this period of time I heard about the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the emerging field of working as a strength and conditioning coach.  Being involved in sports and training had long been interests of mine so being able to make a living at something I enjoyed so much made perfect sense to me.
2) How did you get your start? 

I was hired to work as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach at Fresno State University under Roberto Parker while I was pursuing my masters degree.  It was actually kind of funny that I ended up at Fresno State because I had been accepted at BYU and we were literally weeks away from moving to Provo when the position at Fresno State became available.  California was home for us at the time, my wife had relatives in the Fresno area, so accepting the position at Fresno State was a good fit for my family and I.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

I put my emphasis on free weight multiple joint exercises, utilizing both barbells and dumbbells (while working tires, kegs, and chains into the mix).  Performing the Olympic lifts, with both barbells and dumbbells, is always a priority because for most athletes in most sports the ability to generate power is a key component to enhancing athletic performance.  I use a form of undulating periodization, always emphasizing two distinct physiological goals (e.g., power and muscle endurance) within each training week.  Because of our weekly use of dumbbells I am willing to sacrifice the ability to demonstrate strength in the weightroom in order to build more functional strength to achieve what is most important, optimal performance during competition.
4) What do you feel sets CSU-Pueblo strength & conditioning apart?

I think the most unique aspect of our program is our tremendous emphasis on correct technique.  Technique always takes a priority over the training load.  We demand correct form, if incorrect technique is demonstrated we stop the entire group, coach the mistake, and have the entire group start the set over.  I have been in far too many weightrooms where the priority was always the load being used and as a result incorrect technique was considered acceptable.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Breaking into the field of strength and conditioning is a very competitive profession.  If you are serious about securing a position as a strength and conditioning coach you have to complete a master’s degree in a related field and you have to find a way to acquire practical experience working in a athletic performance related strength and conditioning facility.  Just having your degee, or just having the practical experience, is generally not enough to get you to a point where you will be considered for a position working at a high level strength and conditioning facility.

http://www.gothunderwolves.com/sports/strength/Allen_Hedrick – Coach Hedrick Bio.
http://www.gothunderwolves.com/sports/strength/index – CSU Pueblo Strength & Conditioning Page.

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Tim ‘Red’ Wakeham
Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports
Michigan State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I’ve always enjoyed competition, leadership, coaching and strength and conditioning. Essentially, I followed my passions.
2) How did you get your start? 

After I graduated from high school I coached high school track and junior varsity football. I also worked in my high school weight room. While getting my Bachelor’s degree I trained the resident boxers at the Olympic Education Center in Marquette, Michigan. After college, I read an article about the Packer’s strength coach. I was so excited by the article that I called Green Bay and talked with their strength coach. He told me what he did. I could see myself doing something similar as a career. That night I made a flow chart of steps that would eventually get me to the position of strength coach in the Big Ten Conference.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

Strength = progressive overload using mostly multi-joint, multi-set, multi-modes of equipment and while moving through multiple planes. Power = maximum effort (>90% of mve) to develop force as fast as possible using sport movements demonstrating optimal movement efficiency and precision. Conditioning = progressive overload of sport-specific energy systems using sport (position specific) movement patterns. Coaching = know the person, teach the student, train the athlete, motivate the competitor and lead the player. Leadership = be a self-assured optimist that inspires, nurtures and confronts athletes to accomplish our mission to dominate the competition.
4) What do you feel sets Michigan State strength & conditioning apart?

I don’t want to say we’re any better than anyplace else. There are many great programs around the country that I admire. I can assure you of a few things. Our athletes perform with high effort and discipline in regards to their execution. They also coach and lead their teammates. When they don’t, they’re held accountable. We teach accountability. I have also been told by athletes and coaches who’ve come from other programs that I spend more time teaching leadership than some other coaches they’ve worked with.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Be doggedly persistent. Find mentors and leaders to work under who are like minded to how you view the world. Be a tireless worker. Be thick-skinned and always, always, always be loyal.

http://timredwakeham.wordpress.com/ – Until Lambs Become Lions – Coach Wakeham’s blog.

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Chris Sheckler
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Montana State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
My first exposure to the field of strength & conditioning was in junior high and high school.  My high school had a full time strength coach and he had a huge positive influence on my life and athletic career.  He taught me how training physically not only makes you a better athlete, but exposes you to a wide variety of other positive lasting effects (physical, psychological, and emotional) if you go about it the right way.  I took that passion into my college athletic career at Dakota Wesleyan University (SD).  I played football as well as competed in track and field, so being in peak physical condition was of utmost importance for me being able to compete at the highest level.  During the latter part of my undergraduate career, I realized that the field of strength and conditioning and sports performance was the ideal career path for me.
2) How did you get your start? 

My start came when I returned to my hometown during the summers of my undergraduate years to help my high school strength coach implement his off-season training program.  We held four lifting groups that averaged 40-60 athletes each.  The strength and conditioning program at the school was very well supported by the coaching staff and athletes were expected to participate.  Later, after a career-ending injury, I served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Dakota Wesleyan football team during my senior year of college.  This was a great first experience as it allowed me to design and implement a program for a team that hadn’t had a formal training program.  After that I went on to graduate school at South Dakota State and worked as a GA before getting my first full-time position.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

As far as programming goes my philosophy is not made up of a lot of ground-breaking material.  Using tried and true methods, I strive to design a program that will enhance the athletes’ performance in their respective sport, while decreasing the risk of sport-related injury.  As a coach I really try to develop positive relationships with each and every athlete and bring good energy to the program.  If an athlete sees that you’re 110% bought-in as a coach, they will have a much easier and enjoyable time following suit and giving their best effort.
4) What do you feel sets Montana State strength & conditioning apart?

I think the department here at Montana State is making great strides in the right direction.  We have a great relationship with the entire athletic department, from sport coaches, to the sports medicine staff, to the administrative staff.  As a staff, we make it our business to give each student-athlete the best possible chance to succeed in their sport, while teaching them valuable lessons that they can carry on into their life after collegiate athletics.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?

My best piece of advice would be to meet as many people in the field as you can.  By doing this you not only establish relationships with other coaches, but you can also use it as a means to do a great deal of learning about what other coaches do and how other programs operate.  Also strive to be a life-long learner and read and/or watch anything you can get your hands on that is training-related.  This is one of the best ways to stay educated in our rapidly evolving field, and will help you find your personal niche as a strength coach.  Lastly, never feel like you are above any task.  This field requires a lot of work and dedication day-in and day-out, and you have to be willing to do a lot of things that a job description might not include.  Just remember that everything you do has a purpose and should contribute to the greater good.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Montana-State-Strength-and-Conditioning/271561082865688#!/pages/Montana-State-Strength-and-Conditioning/271561082865688?sk=wall – Montana State Strength & Conditioning Facebook Page.

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Joe Diancin
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Utah State Univeristy

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Originally, I wanted to become a psychologist.  In college, I majored in psychology and even worked at a detention center for a while.  But eventually, it didn’t take too long to figure out that it wasn’t a right fit for me.  Growing up, I had always played sports (mainly football and basketball) and because I wasn’t the most natural athlete, I was always looking for ways to better myself through strength training.  Becoming a strength coach to me was an ideal situation because I combined two things that I truly enjoy: athletics and psychology.  Here, we use the medium of strength training to help the athlete; not only physically, but (oftentimes more importantly) psychologically as well.

2) How did you get your start?
I got my start in the field interning at the University of Pittsburgh under Buddy Morris and James Smith.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy adapts to the needs of the athletes being trained.  Buddy Morris said that “everything works but nothing works forever”.  I truly believe that.  If this question is asking if I’m a powerlifting guy or an Olympic guy…I’m both and I’m neither.  I adapt to the situation I’m given while attempting to make things as simple as possible.
4) What do you feel sets Utah State strength & conditioning apart?
I feel the one thing that sets us apart is our willingness to hold our athletes accountable and also our drive to help make them better people as well as better athletes.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
My best advice to a newcomer to our field is to network as much as possible, be patient with your current situation, and to not burn any bridges…at least not completely.

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Alan Bishop
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Southern Utah University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I got into strength & conditioning for a number or reasons. First and foremost, it is something I am very passionate about and enjoy doing. College athletics is about the players, it always has been and it always will be. Everyday I get to help these players maximize their athletic potential, and that is a great job to have. I was not the most athletically gifted athlete, but I lived under a bar, and understand that that is what gave me the opportunity to succeed in college athletics. Additionally, I was very fortunate to be coached as an athlete by some great strength coaches. Mark Uyeyama, Dave Scholz, Jake Scharnhorst, Evan Simon, Kurt Schmidt and Brandon Howard all played an influential role in my life as coaches and mentors. They all played a huge factor in influencing me to get into this profession.
2) How did you get your start?
I got my start as a coach at Southern Utah University under Dan Bennion. I started as a graduate assistant in January of 2010 and was very fortunate to get promoted to a full time assistant 6 months later in June of 2010.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My philosophy is based on a triad of athletic development, injury prevention and hard work. This triad hinges on training the athlete in a manner to achieve structural development and balance from top to bottom and front to back through a broad spectrum of Squat/Press/Pull variations and Olympic lift variations with a major emphasis placed on developing the posterior chain. Hard work is characterized by working to achieve an improvement in performance, both physically and mentally, on a daily basis.
4) What do you feel sets Southern Utah strength & conditioning apart?
A lesson I learned early on is that there is no such thing as a “best” strength program. What we do at SUU is what we feel best suits the needs of the athletes at SUU. By constantly evaluating the needs of our athletes, designing and implementing training programs to fit those needs, and evaluating the results, we feel that we can help develop our athletes to accomplish their goals on the field.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
1 – Be prepared to sacrifice to make it in this business.
2 – Constantly strive for knowledge.
3 – Don’t get caught up in certifications.

As an intern or grad assistant, you are going to have to pay your dues. This means long hours and little pay, but the experience and knowledge you acquire is invaluable. The best way to learn is to talk with people, and read books written by people who are smarter than you. And finally, having 12 different certifications doesn’t make you a better coach, it just means you passed 12 different tests. Don’t get caught up in trying to buff your resume by adding more letters behind your name. Experience and results trump certifications.  

http://www.suutbirds.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=20100&ATCLID=205303785 – Coach Bishop Bio.

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Chris Bates
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Cal Baptist University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
My story is probably a bit different from most because didn’t really decide to get into strength & conditioning until I graduated from college and got my 1st job offer at a sports performance training facility.  My initial career pursuit was athletic training, but as a part of our athletic training education program’s curriculum, I had to take “Essentials to Strength & Conditioning”.  Once enrolled in that class, I realized that there was a credible certification I could add to my athletic training credential, so I took and passed NSCA’s CSCS exam.  Again, the initial decision was for me to have a good supplemental knowledge of strength & conditioning that I could add to athletic training endeavors.
2) How did you get your start?
A big shift took place once I took my 1st job out of college at Competitive Athlete Training Zone (CATZ) as this is where my foundations were laid specifically for strength & conditioning.  I am indebted to Jim Liston, along with Doug Yee, and other leaders within this organization, who really helped to shape my training philosophies, as I was given the opportunity to lead and direct one of the training sites, along with an athletic training/physical therapist colleague.  Here, I trained youth to professionals, male and female, one-on-one to large groups.  Spending time within this unique organization exposed me to the reality that sports performance movements have strong ties to the very same movements used to rehab patients post injury, and it was during this time that I was able to reconcile my Athletic Training background within the context of sports performance enhancement.  I came to the realization that a lot of the movements I train, and the way I train them, address the prevention or reduced-risk component of injury.  This is when being dual credentialed as an ATC and CSCS made sense to me, and I no longer felt the tension of the two credentials “competing” with each other, so I then sought out the opportunities that was accommodating to my personal priorities such as the value of my family, and time spent with them; work schedule preferences; etc.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Train like sport; Train movements rather than just muscle groups; Develop holistic athletic potential; Train in a chaotic, yet controlled environment (exceptions are with concentration sports such as golf or dive)
4) What do you feel sets Cal Baptist strength & conditioning apart?
Not sure if this sets us apart, but we focus more on quality and quantity of basic movements to a particular sport rather than how much weight an athlete can move.  With that in mind we are built upon “primum non nocere”, which is translated, “first do no harm”.  We do not facilitate a culture where an athlete is made to feel like a weak person overall because you may have some physical or mental weaknesses.  Its just like a mentor of mines who is in education who does not tell a student that they are a failure because they failed at a very specific task.  There’s a big difference.  We are truly cognizant of the complete person as much as possible.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Do your research to stay current on the newest trends, innovations, equipment, etc., but do not get caught up in the consumerism mindset of the million dollar health/fitness business.  Its good to know whats out there, but it may not be good to always be tossed back and forth with the “latest” and “greatest”.  The good news is that strength and conditioning is scientific when it comes to physiology, biomechanics, and other biological responses, so have a strong science base.  This way, you can measure up anything to the standards and principles of adaptation and other biological responses.  Also, work on the art of being a good coach.  A coach is not just someone who is an expert in an area.  There are many people who are gurus in their particular area, but can’t coach/teach/mentor.  Read about other great coaches to get a sense of what made them great.  What you will find is that what made them good or great had/has more to do with their great relational skills, their ability to motivate people, and their overall care and development for their athletes.  Coaching is teaching, so become a great teacher in the various areas of athleticism.  Learn coaching cues that are easy for athletes to understand and recall.  Learn progressions for various movements.  Teach your athletes why and not just how.  They will be better athletes because of it.

http://www.cbulancers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=8100&ATCLID=205014710 – Coach Bates bio.

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Keith Vinci
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Canisius College

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Coming out of high school I joined the US Marine Corps. Being in the I was forced into consistent training. I was one of the smallest, but fast and relatively strong. I was competing in 5k’s and Biathlons. In 2000 I took off my running shoes so to speak and started lifting weights. I competed in bench press competitions for my unit. Not because I was the strongest individual, but I was light weight and strong for my weight class. It is then that I really started to gain the desire for strength and conditioning. I started ordering school text books on Exercise Science and also ordered the NSCA’s Essentials book. I was reading every book, on training I could. When I left the Marine Corps, now at age 27, I enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University knowing that this was the field for me.
2) How did you get your start?
I started with an internship at Binghamton University. This experience allowed me to gain so much knowledge and more than that experience!!!! I was offered a GA position at Canisius College after that by an individual who was also a previous intern at Binghamton University. My first full-time position was at the University of Pittsburgh.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy has made some changes over the years, but the basis has stayed the same. Our training needs to be complimentary to the sport we are training. We need account for the stressors placed on the athlete during their sport games, practices, etc… to ensure we able to have the maximal amount of gains without physical breakdown. 
4) What do you feel sets Canisius College strength & conditioning apart?
As stated above “we need to account for the stressors placed on the athlete during their sport games, practices, etc.”, this means that at Canisius College we are in constant contact with sport coaches. This allows us to adjust our training programs to be in synergy with the overall plan of the sport coach. 
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Get an internship, volunteer, get in a college weight room!! We offer, as do many other great Universities, internships every semester and the summer. Don’t worry if it is out of state. You need to get yourself out there. Rent a cheap room, internship during the day and deliver pizza at night. Just get it done and do what you need to do to get yourself in the door. Knowledge will come with studying, personal research and experience. The ability to perform the job ONLY comes through experience. Lastly, if you can, make sure the internship is under a strength coach who is there to help you move on to the next level.

http://www.gogriffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=20500&KEY=&ATCLID=3630105
 – Canisius Strength & Conditioning Page.
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Michael Ericksen
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Central Connecticut State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I joined the military right out of high school and that experience showed me how far the human body can be pushed physically and it intrigued me.  Once I completed my enlistment, I enrolled at Central Connecticut State University in their Physical Education department.  I was unsure of the path I was going to take but once I started studying the science behind training I was hooked.  The school did not have a Strength and Conditioning degree at the time so I read countless articles from the NSCA and volunteered with Mike Golden (USF) at the University as well as Steve Plisk at Yale.
2) How did you get your start?
I got my start by volunteering as an undergrad at the University under Mike Golden when he worked with our basketball programs.  He assigned me to cover softball and volleyball initially.  He left to take a position at UCONN and I was offered the position on an interim basis, which became the first full-time strength and conditioning coach for the school. While still performing my duties at CCSU I was lucky enough to have Steve Plisk, at Yale, as a mentor while I was developing my philosophy as a strength coach.  I attribute a large part of my knowledge of strength and conditioning to him.  I was also luck enough to have another great strength coach in the area, Coach Martin at UCONN.  He allowed me to come up as much as I wanted and pick his brain on how to make our program better.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Train Hard or Go Home.  My job as the strength and conditioning coach of the university is to prepare our student-athletes for the highest possible level of competition.  We do this by developing our student-athletes in every possible way.  We train them to be physically and mentally tough.  We develop our student-athletes using sound principles with as much intensity as possible.  At the end of the day, I know we have decreased risk of injury and improved overall performance by training the way we do.
4) What do you feel sets Central Connecicut State University strength & conditioning apart?
I believe our student-athletes work ethic sets up apart.  We do not get the highest level athletes.  Our athletes have to work every day to be the best they can and they do.  They believe in the system and strive to get the most of the program.  It makes it easy to be a strength coach when the athletes work as hard as our athletes do.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Join the NSCA or CSCCa, read every article and book related to the field, and most importantly, visit and volunteer with as many programs as you can.  The exposure to as many different programs will help develop your own philosophy later on.  The most successful strength coach is the one that continues to learn.  You have to be an information sponge to be successful.

http://www.ccsubluedevils.com/athletics/strength/index – Central Connecticut State University Strength & Conditioning Page.
http://www.ccsubluedevils.com/athletics/directory/bios/Mike_Ericksen – Coach Ericksen bio.

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Donnell Boucher
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
The Citadel

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I got in to S&C during college while I played football at Worcester State College in MA.  I always needed to keep myself strong and heavy to have a shot at playing time, and I bought into the weight room early.  I learned the value of hard work from training; if you worked a little hard, you were soon able to do some things that you couldn’t before.  Couple that with the fact that I’ve always enjoyed teamwork and helping others, and you have a recipe for coaching.  Performance training was something that always came naturally to me, so I decided to start on that career path.
2) How did you get your start?
My first experience was with my own college football team; I helped write our off-season program as a junior, wrote it as a senior, and after I finished football I trained our school’s baseball team as well.  From there it was summer speed camps and part time work at a few different sites in Central, MA.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
In a nutshell, my philosophy is:  We as a department, are here to help lead our teams towards their goals.  That’s a bit abstract for a S&C Coach, but that’s what I believe my job is.  That’s priority #1 for me = position our athletes to better contribute to the team.  That is more encompassing that simply writing a sound program and getting our guys stronger.  There is much more that needs to be done, and I cannot overlook the bigger picture in the finite amount of time that I have with them.  If it’s not going to help them play their position faster and longer, then we don’t do it.
4) What do you feel sets The Citadel strength & conditioning apart?
We are different because we cultivate an atmosphere of community better than anyone.  From myself to our GA’s, all the way down to the walk-ons; everyone has an important role to play and we feel we’ve done a good job extracting the commitment needed on all fronts.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Get in front of as many groups or individuals or teams that you can.  And, make your experiences branch out beyond the comfortable ones; put yourself in unfamiliar territory.  The practical experience you gain from LEADING supersedes the education you get from school, books or literature 10 times out of 10.  To be an effective S&C Coach, you have to be and effective communicator.  All the knowledge in the world won’t help the strength coach that can’t convey it.

http://www.citadelsports.com/information/insideAthletics/StrengthConditioning/index – The Citadel Strength & Conditioning Page.
http://www.citadelsports.com/sports/articles/2010-11/coaches/boucher_donnell00
 – Coach Boucher Bio.

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Eric Hohn
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Weber State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Kind of happened by accident, started as a part time job then I found out I really enjoyed it so I made a career out of it.

2) How did you get your start?
Mike Clark, currently with the Kansas City Chiefs, gave me my start when he was at the University of Oregon and I hade just finished my under graduate degree in Physical Education.

3) What’s your coaching philosophy? 

I try and make all programs as sport specific as possible, realizing we are developing athletes not weight lifters.

4) What sets Weber State strength and conditioning apart from other institutions?

The strength staff relationship with the Head coaches as well as the Administration.

5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Be patient, but also visit other programs, find out what they do, this will also get your name out there.
http://www.weberstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=8600&KEY=&ATCLID=205015159 – Weber State Strength & Conditioning Page
http://www.weberstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=8600&ATCLID=1377332 – Coach Hohn bio.

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Ted Perlak
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Fordham University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I was working out at Springfield College before my senior year of high school with a few local kids and some of their players, i always wanted to be a prison guard or a police officer – thats what all of my high school coaches were, and I’ll never forget talking to the Strength Coach at Springfield about what I wanted to do for a job, i told him, and he siad “why don’t you do what I do?” I honestly had no clue it was even an option, from that point I harassed him about how to do it, what to read, what I should do… from that point it was all I ever wanted to do.
2) How did you get your start?
My junior year of college in the spring I took a light course load and interned for Jeff Oliver at Holy Cross, it was a great experience — no money, but a ton of free experience.  It was one of the best semesters of my life, I would wake up intern at 6am, go back to school participate in our off-season program for football, and then do it all over again.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
To me its all about communication… with the athletes, coaches, administration, sports medicine, etc.  If you can get the people around you to buy into you, then they’ll work hard for you or with you.  As far as training goes, we try to keep it structured and simple, if its not going to get the athletes better at the goal, we throw it out, I’m not a guy that’s into alot of fluff… lift heavy, run fast, jump high, and work hard.
4) What do you feel sets Fordham strength & conditioning apart?
I think the thing we have going on here is great, we have total support from sport coaches, and the school invests a ton of many into the program… what sets us apart is at this point our system fits our facility, and our kids are super disciplined in the workouts, we are on  a clock for everything and they see results… to me there are no great coaches out there, just good coaches with great situations.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
You have to bite the bullet and volunteer… multiple times.  You also have to train like the kids so you know what you are giving them, to many guys can’t pass a conditioning test, squat right, or even perform olympic lifts right, and they rip kids for messing up.  If you can’t practice what you preach, you probably shouldn’t be doing this.
http://www.fordhamsports.com/genrel/perlak_ted00.html – Coach Perlak Bio
http://www.fordhamsports.com/strencond/ford-strength-main.html – Fordham Strength & Conditioning Page

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Michael Bridges
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
University of Denver

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
When I decided to leave the Marine Corps, I debated between getting an MBA and trying to do something fun.  “Something fun” for me meant something related to sports that required physicality and offered some sense of intrinsic achievement.  After leading college-aged men and women in the service, I knew I could have a positive impact on that age group.  I started shopping around at different universities and discovered the Human Performance Program at UF.  I managed to trap Matt Herring (the Gator’s basketball strength coach) on the phone for about 45 minutes.  By the end of that conversation I knew I’d found the right career path for me.
2) How did you get your start?
When I got to Florida for grad school I harassed Coach Herring until he asked me to come over to the facility for a sit-down.  At that meeting, he extended an offer to let me help out “whenever I could.”  I told him if he opened that door I’d be around more often than he wanted me there.  Over the next year and a half, I did everything he asked and a thousand things he didn’t.  In return, he entrusted me with considerable responsibility.  When an assistant’s job at DU opened up, Coach Herring vouched for me and I probably got the interview based on his recommendation.  I showed up in Denver for the interview and got along well with the coaches and administrators, but more importantly really hit it off with Mike Sanders, the head strength coach.  I got the job, worked my tail off and earned the promotion to the head spot when Coach Sanders moved on to work with the Navy.  In short, it was a little bit of “right place, right time,” a lot of hard work, and a healthy dose of humility that got me here.  (Humility:  if you’re too proud to mop floors, you’ll probably end up doing that or its equivalent long term.)
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Everything matters.  Do it right or don’t bother.  Educate, support, and inspire.
4) What do you feel sets Denver strength & conditioning apart?
I think the difference at Denver stems less from who we are as strength coaches and more from the type of student-athletes we get.  As strength coaches, the assistants here are free to implement plans as they see fit, as long as they’re 1) sound and safe programs, and 2) oriented toward improving skills that sport coaches have stated are necessary for their success.  Our methods aren’t evolutionary, but we try to apply them smartly while educating athletes to encourage more buy-in.  So far that’s worked, and it’s likely due to the fact we’ve got great kids here – largely devoid of egos and entitlement.  They know we care, and they give us their best.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
First understand the difference between performance development and bodybuilding,  Then soak up every bit of info you can glean from a variety of veteran strength coaches.  There are elements of every style of periodization and lifting technique that have benefits if you know how to apply them and when.  The key is understanding why you’d want to do a specific exercise. Finally, question everything – after all, Sliding Filament Theory is still a theory.
http://www.denverpioneers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=18600&ATCLID=204969170

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Greg Argust
Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning
University of Utah

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I decided to get into strength and conditioning because after I did a few internships while I was in college at Penn State University and The University of Notre Dame, I really fell in love with this field and thought it would be a great way to improve athletic performance, but more importantly, to positively effect young men’s lives and make a difference.
2) How did you get your start?
I got my start in this field when I was in college and my strength and conditioning coach, who was also a professor at my school, introduced me to the world of strength and conditioning.  He was a very good coach and professor and he is the reason I am in this field today.
3) What teams do you currently work with?
The teams I currently work with are, I assist with the football team and I am the head strength and conditioning coach for the men’s basketball team.
4) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy is that I want an environment that is high intensity, where the athletes are challenge physically and mentally every day they train.  The only aspect of training that translates to the field or court 100% is the mental aspect and I believe that if you are tough enough to dominate the University of Utah’s workouts, then you will be more than ready, mentally, for any game.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
The one bit of advice I would give someone who is just getting into the strength and conditioning field is to get an internship somewhere to get your foot in the door.  This is usually the first step into getting into this field and once you get an internship, make sure you do more listening then talking.  Just remember that the coaches that are above you have a lot more experience and knowledge then you do, so make sure you recognize that and soak up as much knowledge as you can during your internship.

http://www.coachwhittingham.net/home#!__weight-room – University of Utah football strength & conditioning page

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Matt Young
Director of Strength & Conditioning
Pepperdine University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I have been involved in collegiate athletics for over 15 years.  In college, seeing the way coaches trained teams was always intriguing to me.  I believe the best job in the world is one where you don’t feel as if it was a job.  Strength and Conditioning was something that never seemed like a job to me.
2) How did you get your start?
I took a typical route that many strength and conditioning coaches have taken.  I was an intern (unpaid), graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach, and then an assistant.  From there, I worked my way up to the opportunity that I have here at Pepperdine, as the Director of Strength and Conditioning.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
Our coaching philosophy here at Pepperdine has 3 parts.  First, our goal is to provide the athlete with daily opportunities to reduce the chance or the severity of any sport related injuries through providing them with up to date and thoroughly researched strength and conditioning programs.  Second, we focus on perfecting the movements that we prescribe.  Teaching correct and efficient movements that will benefit the athlete in the aspect of becoming more explosive, stronger, more agile, and better conditioned.  Third, the environment that this takes place in must be one that encourages teams to have focus, energy, and intensity.  We believe that encouraging an environment that pushes Focus + Energy = INTENSITY, will allow the best possible training atmosphere.
4) What do you feel sets Pepperdine strength & conditioning apart?
I have a staff of two assistants and several interns (number determined during each semester).  The staff here works extremely hard with their teams.  We never settle for doing what we do, just because it’s the way that we did it last year or have done it in previous jobs.  We continually research, experiment, and seek out why we do what we do and if there is a better way to do it.  The staff works together as a team with our larger teams which allows better feedback and coaching to all the athletes, as well as allow the teams to work with the entire staff.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Be willing to put time into what you want to do.  Today’s society promises that you can get what you want when you want it.  Becoming a strength and conditioning coach doesn’t fall into that model.  Internships are extremely important as learning and observing opportunities.  Graduate assistantships are an excellent “job interview.”  Networking is often overlooked as a way to learn from some of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the country.  Be willing to put the time into what you want to do.  Intern, volunteer, ask questions, research, experiment, and continually work to never settle.
http://www.pepperdinesports.com/school-bio/pepp-strength-conditioning.html – Pepperdine Strength & Conditioning Page.

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Mark Campbell
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Idaho State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I got into the field because I saw how many athletes were lacking the fundamental skill set and knowledge of proper training techniques and program design.
2) How did you get your start?
I started my coaching career as a linebacker coach at Idaho state, but when I moved back to Hawaii I started my own personal training company and was teaching strength classes at Punahou high school.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy is simple. 1) Prevent injuries with proper technique and breathing, training all the muscles to protect all the joints. 2) train athletes to be better athletes not Olympic lifters. 3) Follow the fundamental principles of strength and conditioning that have been proven for over a hundred years.
4) What do you feel sets Idaho State strength & conditioning apart?
Mastering the fundamental principles and using them in every aspect of our training is what separates us from other programs.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
My advice to someone who wants to get into the str and cond field is to get certified during your senior year or as soon as you
graduate, then intern or GA at any school you can get into. After that, the rest is up to you, figure out your philosophy and coach with passion. Always remember, PHILOSOPHY’S CAN AND WILL CHANGE with gained knowledge and experience, however, PRINCIPLES NEVER DO!!
http://www.isustrong.com/?page_id=1119

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Joe Tofferi
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
University of Detroit Mercy

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
I got into strength and conditioning because while I was at western Michigan university I loved athletics.  I also loved to workout.  I originally wanted to coach, but then one of my friends who was an athlete told me he had a strength & conditioning coach.  I met him once (Tim Herrmann, WMU) and fell in love immediately and knew that it was what I wanted to do.
2) How did you get your start?
I started under Coach Herrmann as a voluntary intern, then became a paid intern, a GA, and now I am full time at University of Detroit Mercy.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?
My philosophy is to recreate the sport movements in the weightroom or in a conditioning setting to make our athletes better movers in there sport while adding different dimensions: strength, power, hypertrophy, endurance, and mobility.  We want to create the best possible athlete for their desired sport as well as keeping them healthy.
4) What do you feel sets Detroit strength & conditioning apart?
I believe we really create programs individually for each athletes to be successful.  We believe each athlete is different and has different strengths and weaknesses.  Each athlete who comes into our program and is evaluate so we can design a program based around their strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Never ever stop learning.  I have been doing this for 10 years now and there is not a day that goes by I don’t learn something new.  Take in as much information as you can and take the truths you believe in and design that program for your athlete.  Remember you always have to be able to answer the question “why?”, not only to the athlete and coaches but more importantly to yourself.

http://www.detroittitans.com/staff.aspx?staff=23 – Coach Tofferi Bio.

http://www.detroittitans.com/sports/2008/11/5/GEN_1105082047.aspx?tab=strengthconditioning – Detroit Strength & Conditioning Page.

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Scott Willis
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
University of Utah

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
When I started school I considered several different fields in the realm of medicine and physical therapy.  After a couple of internships though I realized that those fields were not for me.  I had a college professor, Chuck Stiggnins, that was a retired strength coach and he gave me the idea.  He was a real help in acting as a mentor to get me into the field.
2) How did you get your start?
My first job was as a volunteer at Weber State University.  From there I was hired at the University of Kentucky as a paid intern.
3) What’s your coaching philosophy?

I’m a big believer in ground based multi joint training using free weights.  Athletes are on they’re feet using their entire body as one piece during competition.  I believe the vast majority of training should follow that pattern.
I try to focus on building core strength, and by that I mean from the bottom of the chest to to the top of the knees.  All movements originate from the middle of the body: if the mid section isn’t strong you are going to have a hard time being athletic.
Train for power.  Power = (mass moved x distance)/time.  The less time it takes to move a mass, whether you’re body weight or an implement, the more power is produced.  The ability to generate power is key to success in athletics.
Train athleticism.  This includes strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, coordination, fitness level and mental toughness.
Train as a team.  Training as a team provides another opportunity for teams to develop chemistry, leadership, and mental toughness in a competitive environment.
4) What do you feel sets University of Utah strength & conditioning apart?

What sets the University of Utah apart is that we have coaches with many different philosophies working together.  My background is more Olympic lift oriented while other coaches are more power lifting oriented.  It helps to balance the approach we take to training.  My weaknesses are complimented by other coaches’ strengths. 
5) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
Be prepared to pay your dues.  It can take a long time to break into this profession.  Be prepared to work a lot for oftentimes no compensation.  It’s one of the unfortunate parts of our profession but those days of working hard will pay off with a good recommendation that can help you land your next job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlbyUJrWfcc
http://www.coachwhittingham.net/home#!__weight-room – University of Utah football strength & conditioning page.

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Evan Simon
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Utah State University

1) Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
In college, I was a Health & P.E. Major, but not really sure with what I wanted to do with that degree.  I was working on a paper, when I came across a Sports Illustrated article, on our university’s library search engine.  The article was about strength and conditioning coaches and their role in the development of athletes.  From that point on, all I did was research what Division I strength coaches did from an education and experience standpoint to put myself in position to be in this field.

2) How did you get your start?

My first start in this profession was as a volunteer strength coach at the University of Kentucky’s Football Weight Room.  Where I was attending school to receive my masters degree.  I worked as a full time volunteer for 9 months, then when a GA spot opened, I was lucky enough to get it.

3) What teams do you currently work with?
I currently program for Utah State’s Football and Men’s Basketball Teams.

4) What’s your coaching philosophy?

My coaching philosophy is improve the athletes overall abilities by training for body balance, improved strength/agility/speed/power/work capacity, and through addressing all those areas decreasing the risk of injury.  I base my training systems on methods not means and incorporate things from all training realms (Power Lifting, Weight Lifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman, Energy Systems Training, and Sport Specific Training Drills).

5) What do you feel sets Utah State strength & conditioning apart?

I wont say our staff is set apart from anyone, but I will say what makes us a special staff is: our willingness to learn, communicate, have differences of opinions, share knowledge, care for others, and hold people accountable.

6) If you could give one bit of advice to someone just getting into strength & conditioning, what would it be?
My advice for younger coaches in the field is if you love what you are doing, be willing to make the sacrifices early for greater success in the long run.  Constantly try to build relationships and communicate with other coaches.  Finally, be open minded.  The minute you set your thoughts to one style/way of training or doing things, your not hurting yourself, but the athletes you work with.
http://www.utahstateaggies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/simon_evan00.html

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