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Connors poised for second stint in Greenville?

From Staff Reports
All Rights Reserved.

Jeff Connors is set to return to East Carolina to direct the strength and conditioning program for Pirate football, according to media reports.

Connors had similar responsibilities at ECU for 10 years before leaving to work in that capacity at North Carolina. Connors has spent 10 years in Chapel Hill as strength and conditioning coordinator. He was an assistant athletic director at UNC-CH for the last nine years.

Connors worked for the Pirates when Steve Logan coached the program and those ECU teams generally outperformed the opposition late in the game, a testimony to Connors' conditioning training.

Connors would replace Mike Golden, who left ECU to rejoin former Pirates football coach Skip Holtz at South Florida.

According to the North Carolina athletics website, Connors has been honored as a Master Strength & Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). The Master Strength & Conditioning Coach certification is the highest honor that can be achieved as a strength and conditioning coach, representing professionalism, knowledge, experience, expertise and longevity in the field.

Connors has helped develop some of the top players in the Tar Heels' program, including Julius Peppers, Jason Brown, Ronald Curry, David Thornton, Kentwan Balmer and Hakeem Nicks. In four years under Connors' direction, Balmer increased his overall strength and agility and became a first-round NFL draft choice.

During Connors' tenure in Chapel Hill, 73 of 77 all-time football strength and conditioning records have changed. In the past two offseasons, eight all-time 40-yard dash records (position specific) have been established in football.

Connors also maintains department-wide responsibilities. He previously conducted the strength and conditioning program for the North Carolina women's basketball team. During that period, the team won four ACC titles and made two Final Four appearances. Currently, Connors is training the Tar Heels wrestling team. Connors has previous experience in wrestling as he trained the Bucknell wresting program that produced four All-Americas.

Connors came to North Carolina after spending 10 seasons as East Carolina's Director of Strength & Conditioning. Under Connors, the Pirates were one of the best fourth-quarter teams in the country. In 1996, the ECU defense did not allow a point in the fourth quarter until the seventh game of the season. In 1999, the Pirates outscored their opponents, 102-56, in the final period. In 2000, ECU had a 94-57 advantage in the fourth quarter.

Connors' was the head strength and conditioning coach at Bucknell prior to his experience at East Carolina.

Connors is often asked to present his strength and conditioning program to clinics and conferences across the country. He presented UNC-Chapel Hill's speed and position specific package at the National CCSCa Conference and Midwest Sports Performance Conference in 2009.

Connors was a competitive powerlifter and has won four state titles in powerlifting and has been ranked as high as fourth nationally. He holds Level I certification in Olympic Weight Lifting by the U.S. Weight Lifting Federation.

A 1980 graduate of Salem (WV) College, Connors was a four-year starter at cornerback and was team captain as a senior. He led Salem in interceptions as a sophomore and junior.

After college, Connors served as a police officer in South Florida for two years. Prior to becoming a strength coach, Connors coached high school football and wrestling at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, FL, and he coached linebackers at the Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater, TN.

Connors and his wife, Michele, have a daughter, Kaitlin, and a son, Beau.

Staff writer Al Myatt contributed to this story.

01/21/2011 07:24 AM


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