This is a question I’ve thought about before.
But in college football especially, the strength coaches are typically hired — and fired — by the head coach, with little or no oversight by an athletic administration official…
Christina Specos, a former strength and conditioning coach at Purdue, said she was aware of plenty of instances where strength coaches had been required to dole out punishment to players who had misbehaved, in effect serving as the head coach’s enforcers.
“Strength coaches and other support staff have this pressure to do things the coach’s way because they’re worried about their job security,” Specos said. “They’re just the ‘do’ boy.”
Bob Alejo, the former director of strength and conditioning at North Carolina State, understands that pressure firsthand. In 2017, his contract was not renewed after the basketball coach, Mark Gottfried, was fired.
“You are a little bit beholden,” Alejo said. “I think there’s some conflict of interest. There should be a buffer there.”
Alejo, who also worked for the Oakland Athletics, added: “Asking strength coaches to handle some disciplinary actions, like someone misses a class or is late for practice, and that requires extra push-ups or pull-ups, that somehow along the line has come under our umbrella. It is, in my opinion, a huge mistake. That’s not what we’re here for.”
Mind you, I don’t that’s the case at every school, but when a strength coach assumes the responsibilities we often see, especially in the offseason, is enforcing the head coach’s discipline really something that should be part of his or her job?