NSCA Announces 2017 Coach of the Year Awards

Coaches Bill Foran, Jeff Connors, and Domenic Reno recognized for their career accomplishments.

November 18, 2016

Colorado Springs, CO – Strength and conditioning coaches from across the nation will converge on the NSCA’s Coaches Conference on January 4, 2017 in Nashville, TN to discover cutting-edge research and practical applications in strength and conditioning, presented by the industry’s most elite and respected experts. One of the many exciting events that will be held during the conference is the Award Ceremonies where distinctive honors are given to several coaches for outstanding achievement. At this event, the NSCA recognizes award winners at the professional and collegiate level with winners selected by a volunteer committee, the NSCA’s Coaching Task Force, who determine the winner based on their contributions to the NSCA, their community, and the coaching profession.

Accepting the Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year is the Miami Heat’s Bill Foran, MS, CSCS, RSCC*E. Coach Foranbecomes the fourth recipient of the award, which has been handed out since 2014. A Strength and Conditioning Coach since 1978, Foran began his career with three years at the high school level, and then spent nine years at the college level before joining the professional ranks with the Miami Heat where he has been for the last 28 years.

A graduate of Central Michigan University, Foran earned a dual degree in Physical Education and Health Education in 1977 and his Master’s Degree in exercise physiology from Michigan State University in 1981. Bill is the former president and co-founder of the National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association (NBCCA) and a published author.  He is the main author of three books titled “Condition the NBA Way”, “NBA Power Conditioning”, and “Complete Conditioning for Basketball”. Bill was also the sole editor of “High Performance Sports Conditioning.”

While at the University of Miami, Bill was part of the 1987 Football National Championship and prepared the team for the 1989 National Championship. Foran has also been part of three NBA Championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Additionally, Bill was named as the 2009 Co-NBA Strength Coach of the Year, sharing the title with Dwight Daub of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The award, in its inaugural year, was voted on by the fellow NBA Strength and Conditioning Coaches. In 2014, Bill was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame.

Accepting the College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year is Jeff Connors, CSCS, RSCC*E. Coach Connorsbecomes 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.

Accepting the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year is Domenic Reno, CSCS. Coach Renobecomes the sixth recipient of the award, which has been handed out since 2012. Reno is in his third year with the Western Kentucky University Strength and Conditioning staff, serving as Assistant Director for the Hilltopper Football program and Director for the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field programs.

In his short time with the program, Reno’s influence has been deep as both programs have produced championships and competed at the highest levels of national and international competition.

Under his watch, former quarterback Brandon Doughty developed into an NFL-caliber signal caller, becoming the first quarterback in school history to be drafted, going in the seventh round to his hometown Miami Dolphins. With Reno’s direct influence, Doughty helped lead the Hilltoppers to their best season in school history in 2015, a 12-2 record with a Conference USA Championship and the school’s first-ever final ranking in the Associated Press Poll. WKU has had 45 All-Conference selections over the past two seasons as well as multiple players named semifinalists or better in a number of national individual awards including the Biletnikoff, Davey O’Brien, and Unitas Golden Arm awards.

On the track, the Hilltoppers have won three of the four possible championships since Reno came on board. In 2015-16 alone, the Hilltoppers earned 12 All-American honors with four of the accolades coming from the 4 x 100 team that finished fifth in the NCAA Championship final and broke the school record with a time of 38.60 seconds. Altogether, the WKU men’s track and field squad has won the 2015 C-USA Indoor Championship, 2016 C-USA Indoor Championship and the 2016 Outdoor Championship.

On the women’s side, the Lady Toppers brought home the 2015 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship and took second place earlier in the season at the C-USA Indoor Championships.

Reno came to WKU after three seasons as an Assistant Strength Coach for the NFL's New York Giants, where he was on the staff that won a world championship in the 2011-12 season. During his time with the Giants, Reno helped train and develop eight Pro Bowlers including Eli Manning, Zack Deossie, Chris Snee, Justin Tuck, Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, and Antrel Rolle.

Prior to his time with the Giants, Reno served as the head strength and conditioning coach for three Minor League Baseball franchises, the San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres), Staten Island Yankees (New York Yankees) and Charleston Alley Cats (Toronto Blue Jays). Reno also spent six years as the head strength and conditioning coach at Wagner College, on Staten Island, where he established the college's first ever strength and conditioning program, developing year-round individualized plans for all 22 Division I teams.

Reno is a 2002 graduate of Worcester State College where he earned a bachelor's degree in Health Education and a master’s degree (MBA) from Wagner College. He is CSCS, ISSA Level I and II, FMS, USAW, NASM-PES, USATF, NASE and NESTA certified.

“Congratulations to all the award winners for these well-deserved awards,” said Scott Caulfield, the NSCA’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. “Each of these coaches have changed many lives and exemplify what it is to be an NSCA professional. We are proud to have them as members.”

All three coaches will receive their awards at the NSCA’s Coaches Conference which will be held in Nashville, TN from January 4-6, 2017. The conference brings together the best of the best from all reaches of the strength and conditioning industry to provide an educational experience unlike any other. From cutting-edge presentations to dynamic hands-on sessions by renowned professors, researchers, and strength coaches, attendees receive the tools to help expand their knowledge and further their careers. For more information regarding NSCA and their awards, please visit www.nsca.com.

Media Note: To schedule an interview or to arrange to cover the NSCA’s Coaches Conference, contact Marketing@nsca.com.

 About the National Strength & Conditioning Association

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is an international nonprofit professional association founded in 1978 and is dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession around the world.

The NSCA advances the profession by supporting strength and conditioning professionals devoted to helping others discover and maximize their strengths. The organization disseminates research-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, and continuing education opportunities. The NSCA community is composed of more than 45,000 members and certified professionals who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength coaches, personal trainers, and other roles in related fields.

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NSCA serves as a valuable resource for its members, the fitness industry, general public, and the media. The association provides a wide variety of resources and opportunities designed to strengthen, build, advance, and unify.

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