The Start of a Health and Performance Department
I loved being a Strength and Conditioning Coach. I loved Athletic Performance. I can remember during one staff meeting, Josh Stoner shared his notes from the Leaders Conference he attended. This was an eye opening experience for him and I could tell there was something special about his experience.
A result of this experience, he began using the word “leader” all the time and when he would talk about what leaders should do, it made me look inside and reflect. Leadership became something we were totally focused on. As we were building an Athletic Performance Department and becoming better leaders, it allowed me to see things from a different perspective.
While I was a strength and conditioning coach, I was also an Assistant Athletics Director. I would even be promoted to Associate Athletics while still being the Head Strength Coach for Football and overseeing the staff who were in charge of all the other sport’s training programs. I attended Senior Staff meetings, Head Coaches meetings, and many other meetings. I serve on several committees simultaneously. I could not have done any of this without my staff and their support. After putting in over 20 years in the profession, I knew that one day I would want to transition into an Athletic Administrative leadership position.
I started noticing a few Administrative jobs overseeing Health and Performance being posted nationally. When I saw the job open at the University of Louisville I was very interested so I applied. What intrigued me most was the comprehensive structure being placed around this position. Before this position was created, many of the areas I now oversee all reported up to different members of the Senior Staff. This was not optimal for positive communication and collaboration. My hope is for more of these types of positions to be created in Athletic Departments.
Since I arrived here more than 3 years ago now, we have made significant strides in the areas of Sports Nutrition, Sports Medicine, and Sports Performance. We have plans to significantly improve our Mental Health and Mental Performance department. We also created a Sport Science department in collaboration with the University Hospital System. All of the pieces are now in place to achieve comprehensive integration. Comprehensive integration is when you have all the resources to provide great service and all of those areas are interdependent on one another.
I will finish with where I started. Everything rises and falls on leadership. More important than how a health and performance department is organized is who are the leaders guiding all the departments. Leadership is the quality that allows for problems to be solved. And we all know after the past few years, the problems and challenges are always waiting.