Longo Excited to be at CMU

The Central Michigan University football program has a new weapon in its quest to produce bigger, faster and stronger football players. He is Paul Longo, a Michigan native and veteran strength and conditioning coach who came to CMU from the University of Iowa in January and hit the ground running.

Paul Longo will tell you that he has a great passion and love for what he does.

In the world of speed, strength and conditioning, there are few coaches around the country who bring more experience to the table than Longo. A 1981 graduate of Wayne State University where he played football, Longo spent 10 years (1988-98) as a football strength and conditioning coach at Iowa under legendary coach Hayden Fry.

"I bring experience, no question about that," Longo said. "I've worked with more than 80 players who've gone on to play in the NFL."

In 1999, Longo took over as strength and conditioning coach for Hawkeye Olympic sports. He is one of only 12 coaches in the nation to receive the Master Strength Coach Award, which he garnered in 2001. Longo said he's excited to be back home in Michigan, especially at CMU on the staff of an old friend, Brian Kelly.

"I've known Coach Kelly for a number of years so when I had a chance to come home and work with him it was an easy decision," Longo said. "The facilities here at CMU are awesome, as good as any in the country."

Since arriving at CMU in January, Longo said he has seen great improvement in the work ethic of the players who are making great strides to improve their strength and speed. Longo said he hopes this equates to a better product on the field next fall.

"It's hard to predict but I can tell you we will give maximum effort on every play," Longo said.

He especially noted the improvement in physical strength of such players as Eric Ghiaciuc, Jeff Jenerou and Daniel Bazuin.

"Anthony Rogers is really beginning to emerge too," Longo added.

Rogers came to CMU last year as a highly-touted 240-pound linebacker out of Saginaw High School. Rogers has since added about 25 pounds and been moved to defensive tackle.

Longo has a lot of experience working with players in new positions. One of his star pupils at Iowa was Ross Verba, who was a 225-pound All-American tight end in high school, but converted to offensive tackle following a redshirt year at Iowa.

Verba started four years as a 300-pound left tackle for the Hawkeyes, garnering All Big Ten honors his senior year before becoming Green Bay's first round draft pick in 1997.

Longo is now presented with a similar situation at CMU with Joe Staley, who has been moved from tight end to right tackle this spring for the Chippewas.

"Joe has a great demeanor and is very competitive," Longo said.

Staley came to CMU last year as a highly-touted 230-pound tight end out of Rockford High School, where he holds the school record (21.9) for the 200-meter dash.

"Coach Longo has helped me out tremendously," Staley said.

Staley added that he now weighs about 260 pounds and is expected to tip the scales at close to 290 pounds this fall as the Chippewas starting right tackle.

"You're going to see a shift to a leaner muscle mass offensive lineman (at CMU)," Longo said.

"Paul is a tremendous addition to our football program," Kelly told CMUChippewas.com. "The players on this campus are the ones who we're counting on in the fall and he will enhance our player development."

Longo is a 1976 graduate of Sterling Heights Stevenson High School where he was a first team all-state running back. At Wayne State he was a four-year starter and two-time MVP.

He earned his teaching certificate from CMU in 1985 and began his coaching career that year as an assistant at Bay City Western. The following year he took a position at Warren DeLaSalle. From 1987-88 he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Wisconsin, before joining Fry's staff at Iowa.

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