University Strength and Conditioning Coaching and why people should not bother. University Strength and Conditioning Coaching and why people should not bother.

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Thread: University Strength and Conditioning Coaching and why people should not bother.

  1. #1
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    Default University Strength and Conditioning Coaching and why people should not bother.

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    Wall of text inbound but I wish someone had set me straight about this years ago.


    I have posted here in the past about my pursuit of a university S&C career and just wanted to share my experience with you and your users who may be interested in this field. First off, I have my bachelors in kinesiology, I hold the CSCS and USAW certs, I have completed great D1 internships and even a great crossfit internship. I have jumped through a lot of hoops and devoted a lot of time to this goal so trust me when i say: choose another path.



    I recently took a 3rd D1 internship position. This internship was the final nail in the coffin for me for a slew of reasons... I was told I would be competing with about 9 other interns over the course of the internship for a part time assistant coaching position that would be the hours of a full time position(great deal right?!) Other things that occurred were constantly being yelled at to run to set up cones for drills while the coaches sat back, being told to do things that the coaches knew were wrong, bitch at you, and make you do it the right way(like it's some sort of character building bs), horrid coaching in things like the power clean and testing athletes who I can not believe didn't blow ligaments during SVJ and broad jump testing. In my 1 month I witnessed multiple bad injuries, for instance a bad neck strain while testing cheerleaders doing pullups while the head coach just keeps yelling "Pull Pull Pull!" (out of over 20 women, 4 were able to do a pullup and 1 strained her damn neck and was out for 2+weeks.) Lastly, a program written in stone that didn't make sense to me. I had multiple athletes ask "Are we eventually going to be lifting heavy?" This occurred about the 3rd week into the athletes resuming training too, mind blowing. I would say that compared to my other internships these athletes were much weaker although better conditioned(guess which school has the better records...)
    **None of this garbage occurred at my other internships though, this was just a bad program**


    Now, internships are different I get that, my first 2 were great and it was with the same university, they molded me into the coach I am today. That staff was professional and their goal for the internship program was to craft tomorrows S&C coaches. The 3rd internship to me was a way for the coaches to have free workers clean the facility and do the parts of the job they didn't want to do so beware.


    After graduating college and applying to positions around the country I came to the same wall: Must have 3-5 years D1 coaching experience and Masters Degree Preferred.



    As for the the masters degree, NOTHING being taught in a masters program is worth another 2 years of your life for a job that is underpaid, overworked, unstable, and crap hours. I walked away from the 3rd internship when I realized that my time would be better spent working at McDonalds working up money to just open my own gym.



    The bottom line to me was this: At one university I had coaches who I respected, they walked the walked and talked the talk. At another I had a few knuckle head coaches that were yes men, spent a fortune on an education for a job that doesn't pay enough, and who I would not allow to train my child. This is the discrepancy you will see at the collegiate S&C scene (and I am sure everywhere) and it finally took me seeing the head S&C injure enough people for me to call it quits because I could no longer intern under someone that had nothing to teach me.



    If anyone has any questions I will answer them but I have lost interest in getting into a field where you are expected to bend over backwards for a college for them to fire your ass because they hired a new football coach who has his own S&C guys.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the post. We've said this many times on this board: the majority of collegiate S&C programs are a very difficult situation for a coach who is interested in doing the right thing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Thanks for the post. We've said this many times on this board: the majority of collegiate S&C programs are a very difficult situation for a coach who is interested in doing the right thing.
    I can sympathize with the original poster, as this is precisely the same situation in physical therapy.

  4. #4
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    Stupid question: How does one manage to strain their neck doing a pull up?

  5. #5
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    So now that you have decided what not to do with your career, what will you do?

    And for Mike or anyone else who knows: There must be many like Mike who couldn''t or wouldn't get in after so many years of study and interning. What do these people do instead?

    In a field with so much competition, alternate career pathways must become important.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2014
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    Not a stupid question at all. It happened when the woman got stuck during her pullup, it was obvious she was not getting the rep but idiot coach kept yelling "Pull!" so she reached with her head and strained a muscle in her neck.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2010
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    Bedford Texas
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    Just like any other business, you gotta know someone..

    I got into S&C in 1990 after finishing my degree at Kearney State U in Nebraska. I went back to U of Nebraska (played there one year in 1985) and interned under Boyd Epley and Mike Arthur. I knew them because I played there so I was able to get back and do my last requirements for my degree there. Worked for free for awhile then another intern left and I got a raise from $0 to $3.35/hour for 39 hours a week. Got a part time job at Vanderbilt for $5/hour but only 20 hours per week then lucked into my first job at Tenn State for $21k. I got that job cause I went to the AD at Tenn State and introduced myself and gave him my resume even though there were no openings.

    Later that year at Tenn State the entire FB staff was fired and the AD needed someone to run the offseason program and I was in town ( I think I was working three part time jobs). Started right away. New staff came in and we butted heads for two years and I applied for openings at North Texas, Kansas, and a place called University at Albany in NY. Albany calls and flies me up for an interview and hires me for $25k. I moved my wife and kid there and worked for five years as the head strength coach for 16 sports with no help, got hired cause the AD was a Kansas State former AD and he said he wanted a Nebraska guy.. Worked for five years there and got an offer from SMU to be an asst strength coach cause of.... Nebraska.. Guy there was a former asst and now the Head SC at SMU and just lost his main asst (guy went to Iowa then was Pelinis SC at Neb the past seven years). Took that job for $21k (yes a paycut but D-1) and moved to Dallas.

    Couldn't make it happen on $21k and noticed there was a teacher shortage in Texas, got my emerg cert for PE and got into coaching/PE on the junior high level making double what I ever made in college. Took 11 years coaching 7-9th graders in football and track and running the HS strength programs before I was offered and accepted the position i have now as a fulltime strength coach at HS in Longview Texas. Have a 6,000 sq ft wtroom and run the place with the help of a very supportive athletic dept..

    It wasnt easy but in the end it was worth it, miss college athletics but I've got a pretty good gig here... Nothing that's worth it ever just happens..

    21 years of it before I got this.. Took what I could get when I could get it.. Its a tough field but I wouldn't trade it for anything else...

  8. #8
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    Here's a hopefully good question: Could it happen that way now?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Here's a hopefully good question: Could it happen that way now?
    I still keep in touch with a few guys on that level but I've been out of the loop for so long now (and don't want back in) its hard too say. LOTS more people with their weekend certs applying now.. All the free "non-paid" internship stuff is out of hand now too...

    A long long time ago in HS I told my dad when he asked what I wanted to do after college I was going to "get paid to teach people how to lift weights"...So far so good but I would have never guessed I'd be where I am now...

    I'd also say back then colleges were calling Nebraska asking Epley if he had any assts that wanted to come run their program. I tried sending a few letters then but just didnt have enough hours in to jump from Intern to Head SC somewhere.... I think right now LSU and Moffit are like...

  10. #10
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    May 2012
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    Realistically, in what career are any ideas that an intern has going to be taken seriously? I think the only way SSCs are going to break into D1 is what Rip alluded to via Jordan's post about training somebody instead of bitching. A few SSC are going to have to personally break in and coach some high level high school prospects/early D1 players in the offseason well enough that when they come back, the coaches wonder what the hell happened. Or, even D2 or D3. Then that person is going to have to coach after their career. Plain and simple. Coaching, at least in football, is knit tight pretty well. Outsiders are definitely not welcome. And when there is so much money on the line, people are not apt to get away from groupthink.

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