U.S. Mens’ Alpine Ski Team Hires ESU Graduate to be Strength And Conditioning Coach
While the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will capture the nation’s attention in February, East Stroudsburg University graduate Brendan Wall is already working to help develop the next Bode Miller or Ted Ligety.
For Wall, what started as an internship with the U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team helping to prepare America’s top young ski racers for future Olympics, turned into his dream job this fall.
A 2011 ESU graduate and master’s candidate in exercise science, Wall was hired as the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s alpine ski team’s C and D divisions – the program that trains elite, young racers on track to compete in World Cup skiing and the Olympics. On Saturday, November 2, Wall left for the ski team’s Copper Speed Center at Copper Mountain in Colorado where the C and D teams are training.
From there, Wall, 24, will travel with the teams on the NorAm and Europa Cup circuits to Switzerland, Austria, France, Vermont, Canada and Slovakia for the International Ski Federation’s Junior World Championships.
“I’m beyond excited,” Wall said. “This is basically my dream come true. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the youngest guys to ever be employed by the [United States] Ski Team.”
Wall said his ESU bachelor’s degree in physical education and health education, plus his graduate work in exercise science were the keys to getting him the internship later being offered a permanent position.
ESU’s Shala Davis, Ph.D., chairwoman of the department of exercise science, said Wall’s academic background, combined with his dynamic personality, work ethic and great communication skills made him an excellent choice for the highly-competitive internship and job.
“We teach in the graduate program that you need to play to your strengths and that’s exactly what he did,” Davis said. “I think it goes back to the fact that he went through a one-year accelerated program where you have to sink or swim.”
Wall stepped up, balancing a graduate assistantship with course work and other responsibilities while demonstrating the motivation and enthusiasm, essential components to working with elite athletes, Davis said.
It didn’t hurt that Wall, from Warwick, N.Y., has been skiing since age 5, was a member of his high school’s ski racing team and taught skiing at Jack Frost Mountain in Blakeslee while he was an ESU student.
Wall started his graduate internship at the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, in April where he was under the supervision of Alex Moore, then the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s strength and conditioning coordinator. During Wall’s stint there, Moore was lured away to be the high performance director of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. That meant Wall had to take more responsibility in running strength and conditioning workouts and performance testing with the young skiers, who are mostly ages 18-21.
His skills caught the attention of Sasha Rearick, the head coach of the men’s alpine ski team. When Rearick offered him the job as the C and D teams’ strength and conditioning coach, Wall jumped at the chance.
Wall has completed most of his course work for his Master of Science degree and plans to finish within the next year.
For more information, contact Davis at 570-422-3336.