Tom Osborne urged Bob Devaney to hire Boyd Epley as America's first collegiate strength coach.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska Honors Strength Pioneer Epley

By NU Athletic Communications

Trailblazer, visionary, pioneer, even godfather of strength and conditioning . . . coaches, athletes and Nebraska's athletic director have used those terms to describe Boyd Epley, who will be honored Saturday about 30 minutes before the Huskers host Arkansas State at Memorial Stadium.

Tuesday, Sept. 15, will mark the 40th anniversary of Epley's hiring at Nebraska, making him the first paid strength and conditioning coach in collegiate athletic history.

A former Husker pole vaulter, Epley impressed then Nebraska Assistant Football Coach Tom Osborne with his ability to help athletes improve physically after injury and inspire others to get bigger, stronger and faster as competitors.

Osborne urged a somewhat skeptical Coach Bob Devaney to hire Epley and create the Husker strength and conditioning program in 1969. For the next 35 years that Epley headed Nebraska's football strength program, the Huskers averaged more than 10 wins per season.

Hit the play button to hear more about that historic journey into a field that is now commonplace throughout Division I athletics and even beyond.

The founder of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a member of its Hall of Fame, Epley is now the director of coaching performance for the National Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association in Colorado Springs.


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