Jeff Connors, CSCS, RSCC*E was named the NSCA 2017 College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Coach Connors became the 36th recipient of the award, which has been handed out since 1980. Connors is in his sixth year of his second tour of duty as Assistant Athletics Director for Strength and Conditioning at East Carolina University after rejoining the Pirates' staff January 21, 2011.
Connors took over ECU's top athletic performance position after spending 10 seasons on the University of North Carolina staff as Strength and Conditioning Coordinator and Assistant Athletics Director, a title he was elevated to a year after his arrival in 2001. He helped develop some of the top players in Carolina's program, including NFL players Julius Peppers, Jason Brown, Ronald Curry, David Thornton, Kentwan Balmer and Hakeem Nicks. Peppers, Balmer and Nicks all were first-round picks. During Connors' career at UNC, 73 of 77 all-time football strength and conditioning records improved. During his tenure, Carolina went to five bowl games and produced 27 NFL draft picks.
His current assignment at East Carolina marks his second stint with the Pirate program after an earlier 10-year strength and conditioning leadership tenure with head football coaches Bill Lewis (1991 season) and Steve Logan (1992-2000). In all, Connors' efforts helped produce eight bowl appearances, four post-season victories, 16 National Football League draft selections and representation in two final Top 25 polls (9/1991, 23/1995).
He is also credited for playing an integral role in the design and development of the Pirates' 22,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility inside the Murphy Center, which opened in 2002 after his departure.
Connors is a frequently requested speaker asked to present his strength and conditioning program and philosophies to clinics and conferences across the country. He was also a competitive powerlifter who won four state titles in powerlifting and held a ranking as high as fourth nationally. Connors holds Level I certification in Olympic Weight Lifting by the U.S. Weight Lifting Federation and has had numerous articles published in Wrestling USA, NSCA Career Development Guide, Training and Conditioning Magazine and Bigger Faster Stronger Journal.
In 2013, Connors authored his first book - Strength Coach, A Call To Serve - which not only chronicles his illustrious career, but outlines a distinctive philosophy he has crafted during his calling in the profession. The part-memoir, part-training manual offers readers inspirational and spiritual insight into both his heart and head.
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