By Randy York
When Chad Wade was a 13-year-old living in Weeping Water, Neb., he could not wait for the mailman to deliver what became the highlight of his week – the latest weightlifting program from the Detroit Lions, where his uncle, Gary Wade, was the head strength and conditioning coach. “Gary’s my dad’s brother, and my dad was just as interested in getting that program as I was. We’d both start lifting the day we got it in the mail,” Chad recalled Friday after receiving the highest honor in the strength and conditioning coaching profession – a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) designation from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa).
As much as Wade prefers to work in the shadows for the benefit of Nebraska football, this honor was one time when he could not avoid the spotlight, especially when the presentation is the annual highlight of CSCCa’s national conference. Nearly 400 people at the Downtown Kansas City Marriott Hotel applauded Wade Thursday night when James Dobson, Nebraska’s head strength and conditioning coach, presented Wade a blue Master Strength and Conditioning Coach jacket.
A year ago, Dobson had received the same MSCC designation to become the second Nebraska strength coach to earn that honor. The only other current Husker coach who has achieved that level is Mike Arthur,director of strength and conditioning at Nebraska. Arthur’s 35-year association in Nebraska’s pioneering strength and conditioning program has been so crucial that he joined Boyd Epley in the first induction class into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame.
“Gary worked for Boyd, and Boyd hired me as a graduate assistant for football in 1996,” recalled Wade, who became a fulltime strength coach for Nebraska basketball from 1997 to 2002 before moving back to Husker football in the spring of 2002. “I feel very fortunate to have worked in this field with so many great people over a long period of time, including Boyd, Mike, Dave (Kennedy) and James. It was humbling to be up there and see people I work with every day – Willie Jones, Tyler Clarke and Lauren Harris – in the same room.”
“This is an incredible honor for Chad,” said Dr. Chuck Stiggins, CSCCa’s executive director. “Being named a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach signifies a commitment to the student-athlete, the University of Nebraska athletic program, and the strength and conditioning profession. We’re honored to have Coach Wade as a member of our association and to have him join the ranks of our Master coaches. He is truly a model of an outstanding strength and conditioning professional.”
Among the five criteria to earn the Master’s designation is having a minimum 12 years of experience as a full-time strength and conditioning coach on the collegiate or professional level. About 10 percent of the CSCCa members have achieved the Master’s designation.
One of the presenters at CSCCa was Eric Kapitulik, who has been working with Nebraska football over the past two seasons with his Boston-based company called The Program. “He nailed his presentation on shared adversity,” Dobson said. “All 400 people in the room were listening and writing down notes. It was right on target.”
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