Boyd Epley was named Creative Director for the athletic department in February of 2006 after serving three years as associate athletic director. Previously, he served 34 years as the department’s head strength coach and nine years as assistant athletic director and director of athletic performance.
Epley is recognized for making Nebraska the national leader in strength and conditioning. The respect the Nebraska performance team is evident as 49 of Epley’s former assistants received jobs with other college or professional teams throughout the country.
Nebraska became the first university to have a paid strength coach when Epley was given the title in 1969. In 1978, Epley founded the National Strength and Conditioning Association, serving as president and chairman of the board of directors for five years. The group honored Epley with its first National Strength Coach-of-the-Year Award in 1980, and in 1993 he was presented the NSCA’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also honored by the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1993 with the Lyell Bremser Merit Award.
Most recently, Epley was named to the U.S. Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame in June 2003. Epley was also honored on the March 2001 cover of American Football Monthly magazine, which tabbed him as the Godfather of Strength and Conditioning. Lindy’s magazine also recognized Epley as one of its Top 100 Most Important College Football Sports Figures of the Century. Epley was one of five Huskers on the top 100 list, joining Hall of Fame coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers and two-time Outland Trophy winner Dave Rimington.
Epley served as a track team captain at Phoenix Junior College and starred as a pole vaulter. He then became the Nebraska pole vault record holder as a junior and was Nebraska’s first 15-foot indoor vaulter before a back injury forced him out of competition.
Epley received his associate’s degree from Phoenix JC in 1968, his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from Nebraska and added a master’s degree in education from Nebraska two years later. Epley is married to the former Jane Lilyhorn of Holdrege, Neb., and they have a son, Jay Robert, and a daughter, Jenna Shea.