It was the summer before my sophomore year in college. I had just motored through my first year and was working as a hired hand on farm for the summer.
On a rare day off, I dropped in at the city pool. On the deck, that day was a family friend and his out of town brother. Dave Redding had just moved to the University of Missouri as their Strength and Conditioning coach. I pummeled him with a million questions on how I could improve my football performance. At the end of it all, he promised to send me the conditioning manual that he sent home with all his football athletes.
It was that brief encounter that I made a professional decision. I was going to become a professional strength and conditioning coach.
I could drone on about my story. It would be Chapter 33 ! For the sake of time and potential boredom I will spare my readers at this point.
Finishing THE GOLDEN AGE OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING conjured up great relationships and memories from my journey in the profession that barely got started. Life was coming at me really fast in the early ’80s. Graduate school. Getting married. Looking for employment. Mounting student loan debt. Things that in retrospect I lacked the experience and the maturity to prioritize. I lasted roughly two years at Washburn. When corporate fitness money was offered that essentially doubled my earnings I jumped at the opportunity and moved to my current home of Kansas City. I traded making college athletes strong and fit to making lawyers, bankers and business owners strong and fit. I am very happy and content with how my professional has life evolved. I still get to make lawyers, bankers, and business owners strong and fit, but I will admit that there were times during the last 30 or so years that I wonder where I might have gone should I have been in less of a hurry. Some acknowledgments and thanks!
David Redding. As mentioned previously, a good friend and mentor who got the ball rolling. Having him in Kansas City with the Chiefs was a lot of fun for me. I am happy he got a Superbowl ring with the Packers.
Mike Clark. Gave me my first position in a collegiate weight room. Taught me so much. Programming, administration and life topics. He allowed 22 year old post grad to direct several team conditioning efforts. Mike has been a Pro at every level of the game. Mike was in my wedding and while we have not done a good job of staying in touch I still consider Mike and his wife Kris my good friends.
Keith Hertling. We met at the NSCA National convention. Keith was the acting S&C coach and Defensive Coordinator at Washburn University in Topeka Kansas. He needed a linebacker coach and dangled the promise of a full-time S&C position the following year. So I drove 40 ish minutes from Lawrence Kansas and my Master's Degree project to Topeka for a year. As promised I was hired following a stellar season on the gridiron for a whopping $17,000 per year and no assistant coach. It is often said that you need a job to get a job. Working with University of Kansas athletes and getting to know Keith started the journey.
Dr. Thomas R. Baechle As I transitioned from the college weight room to the Corporate fitness world the NSCA retained my services to assist in setting up what would become the CSCS certification process. He also challenged me to squat 400 lbs and run a marathon on the same day. Dr. Tom is still teaching young college students the correct way at Creighton University.
There are some honorable mention coaches who helped me along the way in various ways. Ken Kontor, Russ Riederer, Jerry Simmons, Russ Rogers, Jerry Simmons and Jeff Hurd. I am undoubtedly forgetting someone but there has been considerable water pass under the bridge since then.
These men and others in this book worked for salaries in the $10,000-$20,000 range working 10 and 12 hour days. Like me, they started as unpaid graduate assistants or interns. Pennies when you consider that current D1 coaches make up to $600,000.00 per year.
In today's fitness crazy world in which one can become a ‘coach’ going to a weekend seminar, I would like all the instant coaches to take a pause to thank these coaches. For it is the toil and struggle of these early pioneers that set the stage for better earnings, better technology, and better methodology.
If you wanna hear more of my story look me up but bring plenty of beer. It is going to take awhile. LIVE STRONG!