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The Lafayette

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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

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Strength and conditioning coaches support student-athlete development
The strength and conditioning coaches work to better the performance of student-athletes. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

They are, for the most part, on campus all day, every day, yet few people know their names, let alone their faces.

They are the strength coaches of Lafayette athletics, and the five of them together are dedicated to making sure Lafayette athletes are primed for performance.

Steve Plunkett

Plunkett, a Coopersburg, Pennsylvania native and the director of strength and conditioning, has been at Lafayette for 12 years. Currently, he works with men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and field hockey, but he has worked with almost every team during his time at Lafayette. 

Plunkett’s goal is to make athletes as strong and balanced as possible relative to their size and body type.

“I’m not trying to drastically change anyone, just strengthen their weaknesses or deficits to make them a more balanced athlete,” Plunkett said. “I think this is best achieved by creating an environment that they want to be in as well. No one will do good or challenging work if they don’t want to be there or dread their workouts.”

Plunkett recognizes his own coach’s influence on his success. He wondered how he could become a positive influence on others, and that is what ultimately led him to get a second bachelor’s degree in exercise science and eventually a master’s degree.

“My favorite part of the job is the athletes,” Plunkett said. “To watch them grow, develop and ultimately have success in their sport is a great feeling.”

Brad Potts

Potts has been working to better Lafayette athletes for 17 years as the assistant athletic director for peak performance & head strength and conditioning coach. He was inspired to pursue a career in athletics because of his college football coach Frank Cignetti Sr.

“He was a hall-of-fame coach who had an amazing influence on me and several other high-level NFL and college coaches, including all-time-great Nick Saban. He was a great person and I was blessed to have had him as a mentor,” Potts wrote in an email.

Potts loves helping college athletes achieve their goals.

“They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” Potts wrote. “Coaching is about building relationships and earning trust.” 

Shane Davenport ’06

Davenport has a specialized position as the director of football performance. Davenport, who started his position in October, has helped the team realize its championship-winning potential.

“We take an athlete-centric approach where each athlete gets a full movement and force assessment and their strength program, corrective work and some running drills will be specific to each athlete or position group,” Davenport said.

The football team currently has eight lifting groups, which are assigned depending on players’ positions and testing results.

Davenport is originally from Massachusetts, but it was his career playing football at Lafayette in the early aughts that drove him to pursue the training and preparation process.

“I got into this field in hopes of preparing kids for their sport while helping them stay out of the training room,” Davenport said.

Alex Brown

Brown is from Allentown, Pennsylvania and has been working at Lafayette for three years. When it comes to his coaching philosophy, he emphasized the importance of the individual, noting that fitness and strength is different for everyone. 

Brown said there are many aspects of his job that he enjoys.

“I love working with athletes day-in and day-out to be able to really see the improvements that they make over their four years due to the hard work that they put in,” Brown said. “I really like being able to help them on their strength journey and I love to see their improvements.”

He acknowledges that as a strength and conditioning coach, having a positive attitude is contagious, so he always strives to be a positive force while in the Maroon Club.

“It always makes my day better when I come into work and see students putting in their best effort in the gym,” Brown said. “It is such an awesome experience to be able to get to know lots of athletes here.”

Chevy Ellis

Ellis, also an Allentown native, works with Brown as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Ellis started in September and said that he looks forward to coming to work and working with a variety of athletes on different teams.

“I realize that different athletes have different needs in the gym,” Ellis said. “I think this individualized aspect of this position keeps this job interesting and exciting when I come to work everyday.”

“My favorite part about the job is coming into work and seeing the same excited faces and having people look forward to getting the best version of me,” Ellis said. “No matter what team I’m working with, I always try to be the best version of myself.”

Ellis makes a significant impact on the Lafayette athletic community, working with five sports including women’s soccer, golf, tennis, fencing and track and field. Ellis says he is in the Maroon Club nearly “all day, every day.”

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