ESPN Shines Insider Look On the Evolution of College Strength Coaches

An in-depth look at the coaches putting in the work all year round!

Let’s call it what it is, but being a strength and conditioning coach and excelling at it at the top level takes a rare breed of human. College strength and conditioning coaches work incredibly long hours all year round — and in my opinion — hardly ever receive the recognition they deserve.

That’s why ESPN’s latest video focusing on strength and conditioning coaches is so awesome because it’s helping to shine light on a critical role in a school’s athletic success. 

In the ESPN video below, they highlight the evolution of college strength and conditioning coaches and provide details behind just how much work they do on an annual basis. More specifically, ESPN highlights a man known as the “godfather of strength and conditioning”, Boyd Epley. 

In 1969, Epley was hired by the University of Nebraska and became the first paid strength coach in college history. As mentioned in the ESPN video, Boyd was initially paid $4 USD a day and his staff were not paid at all — and to add to this, he was told if any athlete got slower, then he would be fired.  

After Epley’s first year, Nebraska saw success on the field, which then translated to other top colleges wanting to hire strength coaches full-time. 

Some key stats about Boyd Epley

  • First ever paid college strength coach.
  • Founder of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. 
  • Won first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the NSCA in 1993.

Another coach highlighted in ESPN’s video is Mickey Marotti, who has been the strength and conditioning coach at The Ohio State for the last 33 years. Marotti recalls the “old days” in the video stating, “It was turn the light on, lift weights, do some running, get bigger, faster, stronger and move on.” 

We don’t know about you, but we’re pumped ESPN is giving more attention to the strength and conditioning coaches working long hours day-in and day-out behind the scenes. 

Useful College Strength and Conditioning Content

Feature image from ESPN YouTube channel. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master’s in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,300 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake’s bread-and-butter.

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