Pac-12: Mike Linn

A look at Pac-10 strength coaches

June, 23, 2010
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.

Beware of the Pod players from UCLA

July, 18, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

Mike Linn is a former UCLA offensive lineman -- a three-year starter no less -- and he looks like he still might enjoy knocking someone over, but he's actually transforming the Bruins athletic training from caveman to high-tech.

He repeatedly uses words like "holistic" and "body composition" and "metabolic assessment" when talking about the direction he's taking the Bruins as their new head strength and conditioning coach.

"It's not just lifting as much weight as we can and running until we puke, though those are certainly parts of training athletes," he said.

That's why he was able to successfully pitch for a $100,000 grant toward restarting UCLA's dormant training table and purchasing two pieces of equipment: a Bod Pod and a metabolic cart.


Well, the Bod Pod is device that accurately measures body composition -- read: lean muscle vs. fat. And the metabolic cart -- think athletes wearing gas-mask looking things while jogging on a treadmill in commercials -- measures an athlete's metabolic rate, both at rest and during exercise.

When Linn knows an athlete's accurate body fat percentage and how many calories he burns at rest and during exercise, he can then create specific training routines for that athlete.

"We needed a way to figure out exactly how many calories our athletes needed and where those calories should be coming from," he said.

Further, a customized menu at the training table is a critical element of that routine. It includes a color-coded card that tells the athlete what to eat and how much. Said Linn, "We really call it the last station of our training -- the performance nutrition station."

While injuries, a UCLA bugaboo for the past few seasons, are often unavoidable, the overwhelming consensus is well-trained, lean athletes are less prone to injuries than those who are not. An athlete who is sucking wind will get sloppy with his technique and that could lead to unfortunate twists, sprains and tears.

As for athletes who might want to scuttle off in search of a burger instead of their special meal, Linn said not a chance.

"They're not sneaking off," he said. "We run a pretty tight ship. It's the last station we do. They can't run and hide."

The Bod Pod, which is part of the testing at the NFL Combine, can be stressful both going in and and coming out: It looks weird and it often reports bad news.

"Some of our bigger guys were a little claustrophobic getting into it," Linn said. "And, getting out of it, I think a lot of them were probably disappointed when we tested them and their body fat was a lot higher than what it should have been."

Of course, due to NCAA rules, there's no training table during the summer. So the athletes are in charge of regulating their own diet with their workout routines

The Bruins return to the pods next week, though.

The Bod Pod doesn't lie. Some players will climb out to a happy Linn. Some won't.

"It's a good way to evaluate our off-season program," he said.