A BRIEF HISTORY: It all started …
YOUTH, HIGH SCHOOL, & UNDERGRADUATE (6-23 yrs old) ... on the playground and ball fields of small-town North Dakota (Washburn, pop. 1800) as a young athlete. I rode around with my baseball glove from the bicycle handlebars, traded baseball cards, and got called home for dinner as a school kid. As an adolescent, I earned 13 varsity letters in baseball (5), basketball (4), football (3), and track & field (1). In 1988, I was the named the Gatorade state baseball player of the year runner-up, and signed to play at NAIA tradition-rich Mayville State University, where I learned a lot about coaching from legendary Scott Berry. I double majored in Physical Education and Health and minored in Biology, and trained and interned at the original Frappier Acceleration Program (now Athletic Republic). On the field, I was honored as All-Conference, All-District and NAIA All-American honorable mention.
MASTER'S DEGREES (-24 yrs old) Prior to beginning graduate studies, I spent a year in Alexandria, MN working under former University of Minnesota strength & conditioning coach Greg Lanners and served the middle school. In Fall 1993, I began my Master's degree in Exercise Science at Northern Arizona University - first working alongside NSCA President Richard Borden and then making my way into the respiratory physiology laboratory and the High Altitude Training Center. At this time, I was also introduced to comparative mammalian physiology and the works of Knudt Schmidt-Nielsen and Ewald Weibel, which piqued an interest in the oxygen transport system of small animals (children) and large animals (adults) - and providing insight into pediatric exercise physiology. My thesis research focused on the pulmonary function of Navajo Native American children resulting in a prediction equation used in pediatric pulmonary practice.
DOCTORAL DEGREE (26-30 yrs old) After contemplating various fields of medicine, my interest in pediatric physiology and youth athletic development led me to work on the PhD with Professor Bob Malina revered by many to be the prominent scholar in youth sports and growth & maturation. As a PhD student, I worked in the Youth Sports Institute and the Human Energy Research Laboratory. During this time, I researched the growth and functional capacities of young distance runners and elite Portugese soccer players. Besides studying human growth (auxology), I also began coursework in epidemiology which influenced my interest in the emerging childhood obesity epidemic and its relationship with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. My dissertation combined my experiences and interest to this point in child growth, young athletes, CVD risk factors, and oxygen transport.
2000-2007 (30-37 yrs old) In August 2000, I began my first academic position at the University of Wyoming. Following 2 years (August 2000-May 2002), I re-located to York University (Toronto) for a short stint (July 2002-July 2003) and then onto Iowa State University where I spent 4 years (Aug 2003-July 2007) collaborating with Dr Greg Welk, scientific director of FITNESSGRAM while also initiating a sports science program with the Iowa State hockey program.
2007-2011 (37-41 yrs old) In August 2007, I returned to my alma mater, Michigan State University Department of Kinesiology, teaching and researching in the areas of exercise physiology, research methods, and growth & maturation. I also developed the Master's degree option in Strength & Conditioning. Given my focus at the time on childhood obesity, I became involved with the development of the Healthy Weight Center @ Helen Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI and in August 2011became the senior translational scientist at the Healthy Weight Center.
During much of this entire period, I remained actively involved in youth athletic development as a researcher and coach including serving as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the USA Hockey Central District Bantam Select Camp and coaching youth and high school baseball. Ultimately, this passion for youth athletic development led to the formation of Spartan Performance, a sports performance training and research center @ Michigan State University.
2012-2017 (42-47 yrs old) Spartan Performance was founded in July 2012 with the mission of offering a holistic, comprehensive, integrated and evidence-based approach to physical and mental training, nutrition, sports science and athletic health in collaboration with MSU SportsMedicine and Rehabilitative Medicine. In 2017, I served as the Director of High Performance and Education at USA Football overseeing efforts in long-term athlete development, health & safety, and coach education.
CURRENTLY (48 yrs old-?) I am consulting in the areas of long-term athlete development and sports science with Perform-X Training Systems, Volt Athletics, major universities and the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
“When interested in a group of people or a topic, he devotes relentless time and effort in developing a great product.”