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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Meet the ACC's strength coaches

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

ESPN.com is focusing this week on college football's most powerful athletes and the strength coaches who helped shape them. These are the guys who, behind the scenes, get the players prepared for the fourth quarter. Some of them -- like NC State's Todd Rice and Virginia Tech's Mike Gentry -- shy away from interviews with the media. Others, like Florida State's Vic Viloria, are off-limits to the media. The point? They're not usually in the spotlight for one reason or another. Today, though, they can't escape it.

ACC fans, meet your gym rats:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Name: Jason Loscalzo

Years at school: Two

Certification: CSCS, SCCC, SPN, USAW Level I

Playing experience: Loscalzo played fullback at Humboldt State from 1996-97 and at Sierra Junior College from 1993-95.

Profile: Loscalzo joined BC from Auburn University, where he worked as assistant strength and conditioning coach and director of sports nutrition for football since 2003. He also worked with the softball and baseball teams there. He was head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Marshall University from 2001-03, and has also served on staffs at the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Arkansas and Humboldt State University, his alma mater.

CLEMSON

Name: Joey Batson

Years at school: 13

Certification: Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association, and has completed the Club Coach Certification program by the United States Weightlifting Federation.

Playing experience: Tight end at The Citadel in 1979 before transferring to Newberry College, where he was a two-year letterman and team co-captain during his senior season.

Profile: Batson was named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa) in May of 2009 – the highest honor given in the profession. He was a graduate assistant in Clemson’s Strength & Conditioning Department from 1985-88. Batson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Newberry College and his master's degree in education from Clemson in 1988.

DUKE

Name: Noel Durfey

Years at school: Entering third

Playing experience: Durfey lettered two seasons in baseball at Lincoln Memorial University, where he graduated from in 1988 with a degree in physical education.

Profile: Durfey joined David Cutcliffe at Duke after working the previous seven years at Mississippi, including the final three as the Rebels’ coordinator of strength and conditioning. He worked primarily with the football and baseball teams there. He also worked at Tennessee (1996-98), BYU (1998-99) and James Madison (2000).

FLORIDA STATE

Name: Vic Viloria

Years at school: First

Certification: USA Weightlifting

Playing experience: Four-year letter winner at linebacker for SMU and a three-time member of the All-Western Athletic Conference team. He led the Mustangs in tackles each of his final three seasons and recorded at least 10 tackles in 21 games over the course of his career.

Profile: Viloria joined Jimbo Fisher's staff in January from SMU -- his alma mater -- where he spent the previous three seasons as the head strength & conditioning coach. Prior to that, Viloria was an assistant strength coach at LSU, working with the Tigers' football and baseball programs, as well as the swimming and golf teams. According to his bio, Viloria endorses the "Hatch System" which develops functional and explosive strength in players through the use of free weights, plyometrics and jumping drills.

GEORGIA TECH

Name: Neal Peduzzi

Years at school: Seventh season at Tech, first as director of player development

Profile: Peduzzi came to Tech after serving as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for two years at the University of Tennessee while working on his master's degree. Prior to his stint with the Vols, Peduzzi served as an interim strength and conditioning coach at Arizona State. Peduzzi earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Lander University in 2002 and completed his master's degree in biomechanics and sports medicine at Tennessee in 2004.

MARYLAND

Name: Dwight Galt

Years at school: 22 (16 as director of strength and conditioning)

Certification: Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) certified with the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches' Association.

Profile: Galt is one of the most tenured among this group. He began his career at Maryland in 1984 as an intern strength coach. He assisted with the training of the 1984 and 1985 ACC champion football teams. In 1989, he became a full-time assistant strength coach, and for the next three years worked with all of Maryland's sports programs. In 1992, Galt became the assistant strength coach for football. Last season, both of his sons, who were members of the football team, graduated.

MIAMI

Name: Andreu Swasey

Years at school: Nine

Playing experience: Starting cornerback for Baylor, where he was a two-year letterman. He was the starting strong safety for the Bears as a senior in 1993 after playing extensively as a reserve in 1992 on a team that defeated Arizona in the Sun Bowl. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Baylor in 1995.

Profile: Swasey returned to Miami in 2000 from the University of Houston. He spent the 2000 season as Miami’s co-head strength and conditioning coach in charge of speed and agility and was promoted to head of the department in 2001. Swasey was with the Hurricanes in 1997 and 1998 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach before leaving to coach defensive backs at Houston in 1999. Swasey began his coaching career at Copperas Cove (Texas) High School, where he coached defensive backs from 1995 to 1997.

NC STATE

Name: Todd Rice

Years at school: Four

Profile: Rice followed coach Tom O’Brien from Boston College, where he spent five seasons in the same capacity. Rice joined the Eagles in August, 2002, after five years Cal, where he and his four assistants directed the strength and conditioning program for all 27 sports. He also spent three seasons (1994-97) at Yale, and has made stops at Illinois, Wisconsin, Ball State and the San Francisco 49ers.

UNC

Name: Jeff Connors

Years at school: Nine

Certification: Level I certification in Olympic Weight Lifting by the U.S. Weight Lifting Federation

Playing experience: A 1980 graduate of Salem (W. Va.) College, Connors was a four-year starter at cornerback and was team captain as a senior. He led Salem in interceptions as a sophomore and junior. He was a competitive powerlifter and has won four state titles in powerlifting and has been ranked as high as fourth nationally.

Profile: Connors has been honored as a Master Strength & Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). The former South Florida police officer has helped develop some of the top players in Carolina's program, including Julius Peppers, Ronald Curry, David Thornton, Kentwan Balmer, Hakeem Nicks, Brooks Foster and Garrett Reynolds. Connors came to Carolina after spending 10 seasons as East Carolina's Director of Strength & Conditioning.

VIRGINIA TECH

Name: Mike Gentry

Years at school: Entering 24th

Profile: Gentry is the most tenured strength director in the ACC. He oversees the training of all 21 varsity sports, but is directly involved with football, women’s basketball, and manages the nutrition programs. Gentry is also a Master Strength and Conditioning coach. His roots are on Tobacco Road, as the Durham, N.C. native received his master’s from UNC in 1981. He also received his doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in motor behavior, from Virginia Tech in 1999. Gentry was an assistant strength coach at UNC and the head strength coach at East Carolina prior to being hired at Virginia Tech in 1987.

VIRGINIA

Name: Brandon Hourigan

Years at school: First

Certification: Certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the United States Weight Lifting Association, and has both First Aid and CPR certification.

Playing experience: Plymouth State College where he was an offensive guard and four-year letterwinner.

Profile: Hourigan had been the head strength and conditioning coach for football at Richmond from 2005-2008, where he worked with coach Mike London. He oversaw all fitness duties for the Spiders who won the 2008 NCAA FCS title. Prior to his hiring at Richmond, Hourigan was the assistant coordinator of speed, strength and conditioning at Northeastern University. Hourigan has also worked as an assistant strength & conditioning coach on the collegiate level at Arizona (2001) and Clemson (1998-1999). He also served as a strength & conditioning intern for the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL in 1999.

WAKE FOREST

Name: Ethan Reeve

Years at school: 10th season

Certification: USA Weightlifting, Russian Kettlebell Challenge, Master Strength Coach

Playing experience: Two-time NCAA All-American and four-time SEC champion wrestler at Tennessee.

Profile: Reeve joined the Demon Deacons in 2001 from Ohio University, where he spent six seasons. Because of his wrestling background, he began his coaching career at Tennessee, where he was assistant wrestling coach/strength coach for wrestling for two years. He also assisted with wrestling at Oklahoma State, Ohio and Clemson before being named head wrestling coach at UT-Chattanooga from 1984-90, where his teams won five Southern Conference championships. He was also the strength coach for the women’s US rowing team that won four gold medals and one silver in the 1995 World Championships. He returned to Ohio in 1995 to become the program’s first director of strength and conditioning.