Susquehanna University's new head strength and conditioning coach, Tony Decker, has made a lot of progress since starting the position last fall. But Decker, the entire athletics department and the student-athletes are most excited for what the future holds.
In this Q&A, Decker talks about the job, and a fellow coach and two current student-athletes reflect on the impact and future of the strength program under his direction.
What brought you to Susquehanna?
Susquehanna University has always been and continues to be an excellent academic institution with a successful and storied athletic reputation. I also was drawn to the opportunity to implement a strength and conditioning program from scratch and on a full-time basis. Finally, the people I met during my interview were awesome, and I really liked the fact that a number of coaches have been here a long time. It says something about a place when people want to stay and are grateful to be a part of such a special university.
Where do you see the strength and conditioning program in one year? Five years?
I see a program that will continue to grow with state-of-the-art equipment and using the most advanced and scientific concepts available. With the plans for the weight room renovation, this will be possible. Our plan and vision with the renovations will allow for unrestricted programs, better traffic flow, and more quality and time-efficient workouts. Five years down the road, my goal and our department's goal is to be a leader and model for other strength and conditioning programs.
What will it take to realize that vision?
First and foremost, the facility renovation will set the foundation. However, more than anything, I believe it starts with education. It is imperative that our student-athletes understand the reasons we will be doing things a certain way. Our goal is to educate and train their bodies as specifically as we can to meet the needs and demands of their chosen sport. There is a lot of science that goes into training the body because the body in itself is a science. Facility, philosophy, education and a commitment to excellence will see the vision become reality.
Head field hockey coach Kaitlyn Wahila
What does having Coach Decker mean to your program and the department as a whole?
Coach Decker has brought an excitement to the atmosphere in the weight room during our team strength and conditioning sessions. Our team is looking forward to developing a knowledge of what it means to be a strong female student-athlete at the Division III level. Our hope is that players will improve their strength and speed, and limit injuries with the work they put in with Coach Decker. He has done a great job at setting a competitive atmosphere where our team feels confident challenging one another to be better.
Football player Kyle Micik '18
Why is having Coach Decker on the athletics staff so important for all student-athletes?
Coach Decker is going to help create a new culture here for all the athletic programs. The knowledge that he brings to the table is unbelievable. He has trained many players at the Division I level and implements the same type of training with us, which will give all sports an edge over the top competitors in our conferences.
Field hockey player Courtney Purnell '18
Why is it important for a student-athlete to buy into Coach Decker's training for all four years of his/her playing career?
We're now getting personalized workouts specific for our sport and our needs. Having Coach Decker available to all of the student-athletes will help prevent a lot of the injuries that sideline many of us throughout our careers.