Meet Coach Mylo, Part I

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina's new strength and conditioning coach, Tom Myslinski, came by his profession naturally.

"As I started playing in the pros, I had to find the best possible way to go train myself for longevity to last in the pros and to develop my abilities," explained the former NFL lineman who nowadays is referred to around the UNC football office as "Coach Mylo."

But that was only part of the equation. Strength and conditioning was also in Mylinski's bloodlines and upbringing.

"It's important to understand that I'm a son of a (S&C) coach; my brother's a high school coach; so really, the profession I'm in, I didn't pick the profession, the profession picked me."

A native of Rome, New York, Myslinski was brought into the realm of strength of conditioning early in life.

"I grew up in a weight room. My big influences were my father and Mike Woicik, who was a strength coach at Syracuse," Myslinski said. "Coach Mike taught me how to throw the hammer in high school. So, I was very fortunate to grow up under those circumstances with Coach Mike and my dad."

Myslinski, with his early exposure to S&C, continued down the path to becoming a coach by getting his degree in Kinesiology at the University of Tennessee, and following that up with a masters in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh while he played for the Steelers. Beyond his formal education, Myslinski has sought out the best and brightest in his profession.

"What I did was go out and around and seek all these coaches to learn from them and try to learn how to really take care of my body and develop my abilities and preserve my career," Myslinski said. "That's kind of what took me along the path of exploration."

In college, Myslinski was exposed to one of the founders of strength and conditioning, Bruno Pauletto, the first ever S&C coach at the University of Tennessee. Pauletto was one of those who was responsible for developing the discipline of training athletes outside athletic fields and arenas. He would go on to be named the 1986 NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) Coach of the Year and ultimately earned their Lifetime Achievement Award, and was credited by Johnny Majors with the success of the Volunteers during that era.

After being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 (where he became acquainted with North Carolina head coach Butch Davis), Myslinski became more than just interested in strength and conditioning; it is safe to say he developed an obsession for something he believed was critical to his livelihood over his nine-year NFL career.

It was during his playing days that he began to think of ways to improve the way football players were trained, from a performance standpoint.

"My frustration as a player was that S&C then was a ‘one size fits all' program," Myslinski said. "I did the same running that a wide receiver did. We played completely different positions, so there's no reason that I should train like that because his motor requirements aren't the same on the field. Plus, his motor skills on the field are completely different than mine."

In Dallas he was also reunited with Woicik, who had been hired by the Cowboys in 1990 (and who still holds the record for most Super Bowl wins as an S&C coach - three with Dallas and three with the New England Patriots, while also being voted as the 1992 NFL Strength Coach of the Year).

Myslinski was also exposed to Tunch Ilkin, who was his offensive line coach when he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two men collaborated on the "Tunch Punch Ladder," a system for training offensive linemen.

He's the son of an S&C coach, he's learned his profession at the feet of the best in the business, and he's taken advantage of every educational opportunity to advance his knowledge of his profession – and he still does. Myslinski is a technician, and approaches his profession that way.

"I'm a very technical coach," Myslinski says, "If you don't have maximum technique, you can't lift maximum loads. That's very important to me. So, everything starts off with the motor skill. From a motor skill, you develop a motor ability."

Tomorrow, Part II: "Coach Mylo Gets Technical"

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