Pac-12: Jim Radcliffe

A look at Pac-10 strength coaches

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
10:00
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A good strength and conditioning program can make a good team great. And a mediocre team good. Here's a look at Pac-10 strength coaches.

Arizona: Corey Edmond

Edmond, whose title is "director of performance enhancement," joined the Arizona staff in 2004, following coach Mike Stoops over from Oklahoma, where he had been an assistant strength and conditioning coach since 1999. Before his term at Oklahoma, he was the head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga from 1995-99 and an assistant there from 1993-95. A North Carolina State graduate, Edmond played three years for the Wolfpack from 1987-90, then signed a 1991 free-agent contract with the then Houston Oilers, where he played for two years.

Arizona State: Ben Hilgart

Hilgart was named the Sun Devils Head Sports Performance Coach in January of 2008 after three seasons as an assistant with the program. Before coming to ASU in June of 2005, he spent the previous three seasons at Ohio State as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. He spent two years at UTEP as the graduate assistant strength coach after coaching the defensive line as well as serving as the head strength coach at Western Illinois University, his alma mater. He was a two-year letterman at Western Illinois, earning his bachelor's degree in physical education in 2000. He earned is master's in kinesiology from UTEP in 2003.

California: John Krasinski

Krasinski has been at California since Jeff Tedford's arrival in 2002. The two first crossed paths at Oregon, where Tedford was the Ducks offensive coordinator. Krasinski was named a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa) in May of 2007, the highest honor given in the strength and conditioning coaching profession. He's heavily involved in the design and development of the new Student-Athlete High Performance Center.

Oregon: Jim Radcliffe

Radcliffe, after 25 years at Oregon, is the Pac-10's longest tenured strength and conditioning coach. He was a high school teacher before he started at Oregon in 1985. A graduate of Pacific in Forest Grove, Ore., he played four seasons at defensive back and was captain of the special teams. He earned his master’s in biomechanics from Oregon in 1992. He is certified by the United States Weightlifting Federation. He also has written books, been published in numerous professional journals and produced videos on plyometrics.

Oregon State: Bryan Miller

Miller was promoted to head of the Sports Performance Center staff in July of 2008 and oversees all the operations of the 20,000 square foot Sports Performance Center. He arrived at Oregon State in the spring of 2006 after serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Wisconsin. He also spent four years in the same capacity at Northern Illinois University. He played football at North Park University in Chicago, where he was a two-year letterwinner and team captain. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a Specialist in Sports Conditioning and a Level I Club Coach (U.S. Weightlifting).

Stanford: Kevin Tolbert

Tolbert was promoted to the position of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach this spring after being the assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2009. Tolbert came to Stanford after one year with the Detroit Lions strength and conditioning staff, which was preceded by an eight-year stint at Michigan from 2001-07. He also coached at Miami. A native of Hempstead, NY, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1981 with a B.S. degree in physical science. He also was a three-year football letterman, helping the Midshipman to a pair of bowl appearances. [Edit note: A Stanford spokesperson wrote that Shannon Turley holds an equal position with Tolbert. You can read his bio here].

UCLA: Mike Linn

Linn, a former Bruins offensive lineman, is in the fourth year of his second tenure as UCLA’s head athletic performance coach. He's served at UCLA from 1999-2002 and from 2007 to the present. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength Coaches Association, as well as a Level One weightlifting coach. Linn also is active in community service as the organizing force behind Prime Time Games, which brings together economically disadvantaged students and children with developmental disabilities in an after-school program.

USC : Aaron Ausmus

Ausmus has been a head strength and conditioning coach at Idaho, Mississippi, North Texas and Tennessee. He was hired by new Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin in February, but the two are familiar with each other's work. Ausmus worked with Kiffin from 2001-03 when both were USC assistants, and Kiffin hired Ausmus to run the strength program at Tennessee in 2009. Kiffin is the second former USC assistant to hire Ausmus. When Idaho hired away then-Trojans assistant Nick Holt to be its head football coach, Holt brought Ausmus along. Ausmus was a two-time All-American track star -- shot put -- at Tennessee.

Washington: Ivan Lewis

Lewis followed second-year Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian from USC, and he brought along the Trojans philosophy of agility over bulk, see an offensive line that slimmed down by 20 or 30 pounds per man in many cases. During his three years at USC as a strength and conditioning assistant, Lewis worked directly with the QBs, the position then coached by Sarkisian. Lewis played football at Idaho before knee injuries ended his career.

Washington State: Darin Lovat

Lovat joined the Cougars staff before Paul Wulff's first season in 2008. Previously, he was an assistant strength coach at Boston College (2007-2008), but he worked with Wulff at Eastern Washington from 2002-2007. He also served as an assistant strength coach at UCLA from 1999-2002. The former UNLV offensive lineman has good bloodlines. His uncle, Tom Lovat, is a long-time NFL assistant coach, while his cousin, Mark Lovat, is an assistant strength coach with the Green Bay Packers.

Oregon behind him, Pflugrad ready to pfly for ASU

March, 30, 2010
3/30/10
5:51
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- While Oregon suffered through a terrible string of off-field problems since its Rose Bowl run, an Arizona State Sun Devil watched from afar with feelings that could be best described as "complicated."

Aaron Pflugrad, you see, was set to be the Ducks starting slot receiver in 2009. But his father, Robin, the the Ducks receivers coach since 2006, did not have his contract renewed for that season, a decision based on Chip Kelly's looming ascendancy to the head coaching job.

So, after catching six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game, Pflugrad opted to transfer.

While it's fair to say that Aaron Pflugrad doesn't hold warm feelings for Oregon, he doesn't seem like the sort to relish the Ducks misfortune with a smirking vindictiveness either.

It simply was clear to him after spring of 2009 that things weren't going to work out. Too much baggage.

"A couple of people whom I respected in the program-- [receivers coach Scott Frost, secondary coach John Neal and strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe] -- they said I should give spring a go," Pflugrad said. "You've got a lot invested in a program, so you say, 'I'll give it a chance and see how things go.' But I just felt like I needed a fresh start."

Aaron said his father didn't push him to leave Oregon.

"When I decided to leave, I think he was shocked because I had a chance to be a starter in the Pac-10, something I wanted for so long," Aaron said. "He was good about it. He wanted what was best for me."

Did he leave behind hard feelings with Kelly?

"I don't think so," Pflugrad said. "I think we both realized it was a tough situation."

The good news is both Pflugrads found new opportunities. Aaron, after sitting out a year, is slated to start at receiver for a Sun Devils offense that is rebuilding at the position, while Robin is the new head coach at Montana.

"I'm pretty proud of him," Aaron said of his dad. "The situation at Oregon, I feel like a lot of coaches at that point in their career would have been backed into a corner. But he just kept grinding and now he's a head coach at a pretty solid program."

Pflugrad, now a junior, caught 23 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown and returned 11 punts for 72 yards for the Ducks.

While he calls Arizona State a "fresh start," Tempe isn't completely new to him. He grew up in the area when his father was the Sun Devils receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 1995-2000 under Bruce Snyder. Nor is coach Dennis Erickson a stranger. Pflugrad went to an Oregon State football camp while Erickson was the Beavers coach. In fact, Erickson recruited him twice -- first as Idaho's head coach in 2006 and then at Arizona State.

As for the offseason problems at Oregon, Pflugrad seems shocked as much as anything.

"It's pretty surprising to see that going on," he said. "It's them making bad decisions. I'm friends with some of the guys. I was really close with some of them. I thought they were good guys. I just think they made some bad choices."

Of course, he would prefer to look forward with his present team, which will be starting a quarterback competition this spring between Michigan transfer Steven Threet and sophomore Brock Osweiler.

Naturally, a coach's son isn't going to prematurely handicap the competition.

"It's hard to tell right now," he said. "They're both big, tall guys who can wing it pretty good. I think we'll find out in the spring. Someone is going to rise to the occasion and take the job."

As for whether he's circled Sept. 25 when Oregon visits Arizona State -- "Family weekend," no less -- Pflugrad is a bit coy, while again sounding like a coach's son who isn't interested in fomenting a controversy with a biting comment.

"We'll see," he said. "I consider myself as someone who plays my hardest in every game. If you go by that, then it will be the same."

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