Edmond, 42, was previously the associate director of athletics and director of performance enhancement at Arizona. He was hired by the Wildcats in 2004, and he was promoted to director of performance enhancement in early 2005, serving as the football program's chief strength and conditioning coach. He also worked with Arizona'z men's and women's basketball teams, among others, during his tenure. He was named as associate AD in 2010.
Prior to being hired at Arizona he was an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Oklahoma. He accepted the position at Oklahoma in 1999 after serving as the head strength and conditioning coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga from 1995-1999. He had been an assistant football coach with UTC, coaching defensive ends and linebackers from 1993 to 1995.
Edmond, who grew up in Sussex, Virginia and played high school ball at Sussex High School, earned his degree from NC State in 1993 after spending two seasons in the NFL with the Houston Oilers.
He played football at NC State under Dick Sheridan lining up for the Wolfpack from 1987-1990.
Edmond talks about taking over at NC State, past football players he has trained, his playing career for the Wolfpack, and much more in this exclusive Q&A with Pack Pride.
First of all, how did being hired at NC State come about?
Well, I knew about the job because some people had told me about it being open, and I think it came down to the interview process. After the interview process, we are now where we're at, and I'm excited to be going back to NC State. I can't wait to get back to Raleigh and back to my school.
I've been blessed to go to BCS games, and I was a part of a national championship at Oklahoma. As a part of your job, you are helping other programs win, but at the end of the day you want to see the school you went to have the same success. That is where I'm at now.
Now it is investing in it but more than that it is about investing in those young men and the community around NC State. My heart is there, and I want to do that for the program and coach more than anything.
Being out west at Arizona and prior to that in the midwest at Oklahoma, how much were you able to keep up with Wolfpack football?
Being an alum, you never take your eye off it. Being out on the west coast really allows you to see all the games, so I'm always checking the scores. You hear about your alma mater when they have success, for instance when we beat up on Clemson, things like that come up around the other guys and I can raise the little Wolfpack sign and be proud [laughing].
I'm not sure how much you were able to return to NC State since graduating, but what were your thoughts of the facilities when you came in to interview for the job?
I was driving into Raleigh from Virginia, and I was floored by how much the facilities have improved. I've been to a lot of schools throughout the country in the SEC and Big 12, but the facilities at State are outstanding.
It is at a point where they have done a great job of continuing to build around the football program and the entire campus. It all looks much different than from when I was there.
How familiar are you with the personnel at NC State?
It doesn't change. When you are a football player, you're a football player. The only thing that changes is the name. As a strength coach, you invest in the lives of these young men and you want to make them bigger, stronger, and faster. That's not going to change anywhere you are... I want to make them stronger and faster compared to everyone else.
At the end of the day, you're grooming young guys into strong men.
Coach O'Brien has often mentioned how important the strength and conditioning program is to the football team because the strength and conditioning coach and his staff can be around the players for an unlimited amount of time while assistants and head coaches have restrictions. Can you add to that?
They are the heartbeat of your team. Regardless of recruiting, coaching, everything else, the strength coach and his staff are going to spend all their time training to make the players better.
That is what I'm all about. I will be accessible to those guys all the time, 24-7. I can show you my cell phone and it will be full of former players I've trained and current players I've trained because it doesn't end in the weight room. They all know that I'm just a phone call away. That is how I work because I believe you are there to grow and develop the player physically but also mentally. We are building a mindset where they need to know that they can run through walls to achieve their ultimate goals.
I believe that when you relate to these young men on a personal level and develop that relationship, they will remain involved in the program and that is what builds your program.
Sure, we are helping them to become better football players, but we also must help them with life issues. There is a life after football, and whether it is marital problems, having a first child, or other issues with life, I believe you need to be there for these men. Probably one of the greatest compliments I ever received from anyone came from a former player when he told me that I wasn't just his strength coach, but also his life coach. That meant so much to me, hearing it from one of my former players.
Do you have a philosophy that you build your strength program around?
I believe you look at your team and see what your team needs are. We want guys to be fast. We are going to be a fast football team and a physical football team. We're also going to be a smart football team and I believe that can start in the weight room. If we are meticulously detailed in the weight room it can most certainly carry over to the football field, and I believe it goes right in line with coach O'Brien's philosophy.
It is about being big, fast, physical, and smart, and we are going to win the fourth quarter. We are going to be in better shape and win that final 15 minutes.
You watch that game last night, and I've been there. I know what it takes. I want our guys to know they can achieve the same thing... you can compete against anybody in the country. That starts in spring training... it will start for us next Monday. That work helps you win championships.
Did you have a connection at NC State prior to the interview process?
Not really. I know coach Pate because he was our defensive coordinator my first two years, but I didn't have any connection to the past. But when I walked in the door I knew what I wanted to do and I knew what I wanted to see and that was the program moving forward. I think my goals match those of coach O'Brien and his staff.
It's funny, I told coach O'Brien when I went in to meet with him that we share a common goal. He asked what that was, and I said, "beating North Carolina." When I was at State we started the previous five-game winning streak against North Carolina, and I told coach O'Brien that like me I'm sure he doesn't want to ever see that streak end.
When I was at NC State I played under Dick Sheridan, and we got things turned around. We were a hard-working, disciplined group, and we won a lot of games. I think before coach retired we were on the verge of taking this thing to another level. I understand where this program has come and where it is going to go.
It all starts with recruiting and that begins in our own state. The coaching staff, the fan base... we have to get all these young men wanting to attend NC State. Every car in Raleigh should have a NC State flag hanging out of its window.
Obviously strength coaches can't go out and recruit, but they do get to meet with potential recruits on campus visits. How big of a role do you play in the recruiting process?
As soon as word got out that I got the job at NC State I received numerous calls from, not just high school coaches, but people up and down the eastern seaboard congratulating me, telling me they were glad to have me back involved in the program and on the east coast.
Most of the guys I went to school with, they have kids that are now going to college. They need to know that their kids shouldn't be going to SEC schools or Big 12 programs... they don't need to go anywhere else but right here at NC State so we can build this thing.
When do you officially start working at NC State?
I'm flying into Raleigh today, but I don't officially begin until next Monday. I believe I will meet with the players for the first time on Thursday.
The last thing I wanted to ask you is who are some of the notable pro athletes that you have been fortunate enough to train over the years?
[Laughing] Wow, when I get to Raleigh I can get you a full list. Off the top of my head of course there is T.O., Terrell Owens. He was at Tennessee-Chattanooga when I was there as head strength and conditioning coach.
Then you also have guys like Josh Heupel from the national championship team at Oklahoma. Heupel, Tommy Harris, and Mark Clayton. I didn't get to train Adrian [Peterson], I left the year he got there, but I was a part of recruiting him to Oklahoma.
You also have Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots, Brooks Reed, who replaced Mario Williams when he went down with the Houston Texans, and Earl Mitchell who is also at Houston. Also, there was Antoine Cason, who won the Jim Thorpe Award and was a first-round draft pick. Mike Thomas, the wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is another of my former guys who is now in the NFL.
I also train Lance Briggs, the Pro Bowl linebacker with the Bears. Now, he wasn't here with me, but he comes back and trains with me every year in the offseason.
Those are some of the guys, but I can get you the full list later on.