A Clear Choice?

Former West Virginia assistant strength and conditioning coach and current Tulsa director of football strength and conditioning Marcus Kinney has emerged as a primary candidate to replace Mike Barwis.

Kinney, in his first season with Tulsa, spent the past two years as associate director of strength and conditioning/skill development under Barwis at WVU. He also served in a supervisory role for the strength and conditioning development of Mountaineer men's soccer. When Barwis left West Virginia to take a job at Michigan – despite telling the The Domion Post he would remain at WVU if Bill Stewart was named head coach – Kinney desired the job so much he contacted university authorities to inform them of his interest.

"We're pretty doggone similar," Kinney said of comparing his style and approach to Barwis'. "We're pretty much one and the same in philosophies. West Virginia has had one of the best strength and conditioning programs in the country, and that's one of the reasons, a major reason, West Virginia has been so successful in the last few years. It's all-encompassing and one of the most complete programs in the nation."

Kinney, a 1996 sports medicine and athletic training honors graduate of Wilmington College, received his master's degree in athletic coaching from West Virginia in 1997. He spent the 2002-04 seasons as Kansas State's strength and conditioning coach. Kinney's primary task was to direct the Wildcat strength and conditioning program for men's basketball. In addition, he coordinated the strength and conditioning program for men's soccer, as well assisting with the other intercollegiate programs, including Kansas State's nationally prominent football program.

Kinney went to K-State from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach. At Navy, Kinney was directly responsible for implementing the strength and conditioning programs for lacrosse, wrestling and crew. He also assisted in preparing and overseeing workouts for football and men's basketball. While working on his master's degree, he served as an assistant to the head strength and conditioning coach for football. Kinney also developed programs for men's and women's soccer, as well as track and field. He also served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Wilmington, where he designed and implemented the strength and conditioning programs for nine varsity sports. A United States Army veteran, Kinney is certified as a specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is also certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association.

"There won't be a lot of changes," Kinney said. "Why change it when it is working? We already have great people in place here, the athletes know them, the system is already built in. It's a good fit. I always say I have 100 percent of the Barwis energy, 100 percent of the Barwis enthusiasm, and just one-third of the gravelly voice."

Kinney said the three holdovers from Barwis' staff – Jason Pompili, recently named the coordinator of strength and conditioning, and assisatnt strength and conditioning coaches Jeff Giosi and Jerry Handley – would retain their positions upon his hire.

"I just want to continue to build those bricks up," Kinney said of WVU's success. "We have hard workers there, like (graduate assistants) Luke Sage and Brian Wright, and I would definitely love the opportunity to lead that department at West Virginia. What we do there and here is very unique comapred to other programs, and it has permiated all sports."

Kinney took those ideals to Tulsa. The core of its strength and conditioning program, according to UT's official athletic site, is "based on Olympic variations and the explosive training elicited by types of exercises. We also believe in ground-based strength and power developed through the use of squats, lunges and all variations of the two. Our training centers on developing muscular balance and joint stability, all accomplished by training with free weights and the extensive use of dumbbell training. We stress the importance of training the posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings).

"Progressive overload refers to the gradual increase in demands placed on the body. We use ‘periodization' (cycling of volume and intensity) to build up intensity over the course of four weeks and then use ‘unloading' (lower intensities) for one week to allow the body to rejuvenate. By cycling the workouts this way, athletes are less prone to staleness, boredom and the over-training that usually follows, and it elicits superior gains in strength and speed by allowing for the proper rest and recovery."

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