DEMAREE: Forcier's route to Kentucky

Scott Holsopple makes his exodus to the University of Florida to be their strength and conditioning coach whereby leaving the position vacant. And thus the new guy arrived in Lexington last week. The new guy is a young man by the name of Todd Forcier who comes to UK by way of the University of Syracuse. Had he ever crossed paths with Billy Gillispie?

No said Forcier. "I tracked him down," Forcier said. "I sent out the dogs and tracked him down. I got his phone number and from that point it was a sense of urgency. I knew he was busy and every other day, I left a voice mail. He finally called me and I'm working – we had some guys in there (weight room) working and sweating. I'm up at Syracuse doing my thing. My phone rang and I saw his name come up, I took off in a dead sprint into my office and shut the door. I tried to play dumb for a minute and I said hello! He said this is coach Gillispie from Kentucky basketball here and I acted surprised and I said OH, coach, how are you doing? ‘I receive about ninety of your voice mails and I'm returning one of them. You said you wanted to talk, so talk.' I played dumb and the played dumb right back. I kind of swallowed my gum. I'd never been told to talk."

Forcier said they had a great conversation for about fifteen minutes about philosophies and what he wanted for his program and some things I thought I'd be able to bring to his program that he hadn't seen before. How I could help his program win.

Forcier was at Syracuse for five years under coach Jim Boehiem. "He's an unbelievable basketball coach, has unbelievable knowledge, and unbelievable report with his players. "There's a reason why he's been so successful," the new strength and conditioning coach said. "He allowed me to finish Massage Therapy School letting me grow in my profession and never flat out put the kibosh on any of my ideas. If it was something he didn't agree with, he would say, ‘lets take another look at that.'" Todd Forcier has a degree in Kinesiology.

The time a strength and conditioning coaches spends with the players as opposed to the other coaches is about a 3-1 ratio. "My real job starts in the summertime and there are no restriction on my role. They can be around me twelve straight months out of the year."

As for as his weight room rules, unlike Holsopple, they are few. He said, "The number one thing with me is effort. The hardest thing they have to do in a day is tied up their shoes and by tying up their shoes, they are committing to me for that session. I tell them, you give me the effort and I'll supply you with the tools on what we have to do that day. Other than that, I don't have a, no chewing gum policy, I don't care if they bring in their dog, I don't care if they are wearing do-rags, I do not care. I want these guys to come in and give me everything they have for that session and block everything else out." Does Forcier have the motor to keep up with everything Gillispie is trying to accomplish?

"That was what attracted me to him was the challenge. To put myself in that ninth gear or what ever it is that he has. I love the expectation level that he has because they are so high and I want to every single day to be an extension of him and meet what he wants for the players. In the interview, I told him, its not about how much a player can squat or lift – I just want to deliver to him a player he can work with and do what he wants on the basketball court."

He said he met coach Glenn Cyprien, a UK assistant under Gillispie, and worked with him when they were both at UNLV. Forcier gave high praise to the people of Lexington. He said he's met more people here in five days than he has in ten years.

So his cat (no pun intended) and mouse game materialized to his benefit. The big cat, Gillispie was the trap, UK basketball was the cheese, and Forcier was the mouse that coerced the trap to spring whereby morphing him into a cat. So let the Cat-ting begin!

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