This week’s question and answer session with the football staff features Sam Houston strength and conditioning coach Brian Hess.
Coach Hess joined the Bearkat program a year ago in April and works with all 17 Sam Houston intercollegiate sports teams. Before coming to Huntsville, Hess coached at Delaware, Georgetown and Harvard.
Question: Why Sam Houston State University?
Coach Hess: I worked with head football coach K.C. Keeler at the University of Delaware and when I saw the opportunity to re-join his staff I applied. During my interview for the position I was extremely impressed with the coaches and staff members that I had the opportunity to meet. Mr. Williams and Ms. Thompson showed such an incredible love for the program, department and athletes here, it made the move to Sam Houston an easy decision.
Question: What separates your program from others?
Coach Hess: When our staff meets to write a program our goals are simple: Decrease the risk of injury and maximize performance. Our philosophy consists of four major pillars.
1) Year round training: Over the course of an athlete’s career we want to make continuous progress in their development. This means continuing to training year round.
2) Four year development: The needs of a freshman are very different then the needs of a senior. We look to utilize the simplest method to create development and when an athlete adapts to that stimulus we progress them.
3) Transfer of Training: To ensure transfer of training we select exercises that are ground base: utilize putting force into the ground, Multi-Joint: involve transferring force through the body with multiple joints and 3-demensional movements: using free weights that require your body to stabilize the barbell or dumbbell as you move through a full range of motion. When we look at speed, Change of direction and conditioning we look at movements and energy systems that are to the sport.
4) Injury Management: Teaching the fundamental movements is crucial to keeping an athlete healthy. We want our athletes to master the squat, hip hinge, upper body press and pull and how to utilize their torso before we load any movements. We do this in our intro program to all incoming athletes as well as in our warm up before every training session. We put a big focus on maximizing our warm up as well as our recovery work to make sure that we are addressing common injuries of the specific sport and total body movement.
With all of this said it all comes down to the effort of the athletes. I always tell our athletes “I did not invent the squat and every other program is training.” It is the effort that each athlete puts into the training that will determine the success of the program.
Question: Who have been your mentors as a coach?
Coach Hess: I have been extremely lucky to have worked under some incredible coaches who have impacted me and my coaching. At Iowa I was able to see how a FBS program is run at the highest level under Chris Doyle. At the time Coach Doyle had been at Iowa for 10 years and had created a department and culture that is the standard for what I hope to create. After Iowa, I went to Georgetown University where I worked under Augie Maurelli. Coach Augie is the greatest motivator I will ever know. Augie was able to create relationships with his athletes that ran deeper than the weight room. They would often seek his advice for issues outside of athletics. His athletes were willing to do anything for him whether it was more attention to detail or dig deep during a tough training session. For programming and philosophy, Tim Caron at Army and James Frazier at Harvard have been huge influences and continue to be mentors to me.
Question: What is your favorite quote?
Coach Hess: “Somewhere he is out there training while I am not, and when we meet, he will win.” I heard this quote from a former athlete I had the privilege of coaching Paul Worrilow who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons. I will never have an athlete work harder than Paul. Someone may work as hard but I don’t think it is possible to work harder.
I like this quote because it accepts the fact that the person who puts the greater effort into their preparation deserves to win. This applies to more than just lifting and running it means eating, sleeping and managing your social life properly all the things that will maximize your potential.
Question: What is your favorite aspect of living in Huntsville, Texas?
Coach Hess: Being so close to Leona general store steak house. I had no idea that a place existed where you can order a steak any size you want. My current record is a 24oz steak but I have had a good off season and hope to finish a 26oz soon.
Coach Hess and the Bearkats are two weeks ago from the season opener in Lubbock against Texas Tech. The Sam Houston football team takes on Lamar in the Kats’ home opener Sept. 19, the first of six games at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. Tickets are now on sale online at www.gobearkats.com