Croom Names Pollard MSU Head Strength Coach

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University head football coach Sylvester Croom announced Monday the hiring of Ben Pollard as the Bulldogs' head strength and conditioning coach. The appointment requires approval by the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Ben Pollard, 45, comes to the State program following three years as the head football strength and performance coach on the staff of head coach Dennis Francione at Texas A&M University. During his three seasons with the Aggies (2004-06), Texas A&M posted a 21-15 overall record and advanced to a pair of post-season bowl games. Pollard helped A&M to a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2004 and to a 9-4 overall mark and berth in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl this past season.

Pollard worked previously with Franchione when both were at the University of Alabama. Pollard served as the director of strength and conditioning for the Crimson Tide, 2001-03, helping UA to 17-8 overall mark and an invitation to the 2001 Independence Bowl.

He had followed Franchione to Alabama from Texas Christian University, where the two worked from 1998-2000. In his capacity as strength and conditioning coach, Pollard helped the Horned Frogs to three straight bowl games, the 1998 Sun and the 1999 and 2000 Mobile Bowls.

A veteran of 20 years working in the strength and conditioning field, Pollard was the head strength coach and an instructor in the Department of Kinesiology at Sam Houston State from 1990-97. He began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant in the weight room at Texas Tech University, 1987-89, under the direction of current Dallas Cowboy strength coach Joe Juraszek.

Pollard is certified by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association as a Master Strength Coach, as well as being a Senior Level Coach in the U.S. Weightlifting Federation. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

In 2000, he was one of 14 nominees for the National Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year. The nomination was a result of his work with a TCU football team ESPN The Magazine called "the strongest in the land."

Born in McKeesport, Pa., but raised in Lubbock, Texas, Pollard earned his bachelor's (1984) and master's (1989) degrees from Texas Tech.

He is married to the former Leslie Willis of Houston, and the couple has three children: sons Harrison and Everett, and daughter Melissa.

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