December 5, 2023
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is proud to announce the recipients of the organization’s 2024 Coach of the Year Awards:
Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year: Justin Lovett, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, RSCC*E
College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year: Brijesh Patel, MA, CSCS, RSCC*E
Assistant College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year: Kenna Smoak Minnici, MA, CSCS, RSCC*D
Award winners are selected by the NSCA’s Coaching Taskforce, a group filled with previous award winners and other established leaders from the strength and conditioning community. The Taskforce determines the winners based on their contributions to the NSCA, their community, and the coaching profession.
Accepting the Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award is Justin Lovett, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, RSCC*E. In 2024, Justin Lovett will be entering his fifth season with the Los Angeles Rams and his fourth as Director of Strength and Conditioning. Lovett arrived in Los Angeles after spending three seasons as the Director of Football Strength and Conditioning with the Purdue University Boilermakers. Prior to Purdue, Lovett helped build the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers football team into back-to-back Conference USA champions as Football Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. Lovett also worked as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for The University of Georgia football program as well as the Denver Broncos. Coach Lovett earned his Bachelor’s in Exercise and Sport Science at Colorado State University, and his Master’s in Exercise Science and Health Promotion at PennWest California.
Accepting the College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award is Brijesh Patel, MA, CSCS, RSCC*E. Brijesh Patel joined Quinnipiac University in August 2008 as the Athletic Department's Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. Patel previously held the title of Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was a Graduate Assistant at the University of Connecticut. Coach Patel earned both his Bachelor’s in Finance Management and Master’s in Kinesiology and Sport Management from the University of Connecticut. While Patel primarily works with the men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey teams at Quinnipiac, he also oversees the strength and conditioning development for all 21 varsity sports. Patel is also an author and speaker on programming and nutrition. Currently, Patel and his wife Anna reside with their children Talin and Maya in Hamden, Connecticut.
Accepting the Assistant College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award is Kenna Smoak Minnici, MA, CSCS, RSCC*D. Kenna (Smoak) Minnici is in her seventh year as an Associate Strength Coach at Army West Point (Army). Through her time at Army, she has worked with baseball, volleyball, and many other Olympic sports. Under her guidance, the Army Baseball Program has won five consecutive Patriot League titles. Prior to West Point, Coach Minnici worked at Marshall, SMU, and UT Chattanooga. She has a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Sport Science and Pedagogy from Gardner-Webb University. Coach Minnici has also competed professionally in powerlifting, nationally in Figure bodybuilding, and run marathons. She resides in Stormville, New York, with her husband, one-year-old son, and two German shepherds.
“We are thrilled to honor this year’s distinguished recipients, Coaches Lovett, Patel, and Minnici,” states Eric McMahon, NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager. “The NSCA applauds your unrelenting commitment to your athletes, your communities, and the coaching profession. Your recognition is well-deserved, and we look forward to celebrating your greatness.”
The NSCA invites you to join us in celebrating their achievements at the 2024 NSCA Coaches Conference on January 3-5 in Orlando, Florida, and online. Register now at NSCA.com/Coaches.
For more information regarding the NSCA and our awards, please visit NSCA.com/Membership/Awards.
Media Note: To schedule an interview with award winners, please contact email@example.com.
About the National Strength & Conditioning Association
Founded in 1978, The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is an educational nonprofit association dedicated to advancing education for strength and conditioning and related sport science professions around the world.
The NSCA exists to empower a community of professionals to maximize their impact through disseminating evidence-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, networking opportunities, and continuing education. The NSCA community is composed of more than 60,000 members and certified professionals throughout the world who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength and conditioning coaches, performance and sport scientists, personal trainers, tactical professionals, and other related roles.