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Jeff Connors enters the third year of his second tour of duty as assistant athletics director for strength and conditioning at East Carolina after rejoining the Pirates' staff Jan. 21, 2011.
Connors took over ECU's top athletic performance position after spending the previous 10 seasons on the University of North Carolina staff as strength and conditioning coordinator and assistant athletics director, a title he was elevated to a year after his arrival in 2001.
His current assignment at East Carolina marks his second stint with the Pirate program after an earlier 10-year strength and conditioning leadership tenure with head football coaches Bill Lewis (1991 season) and Steve Logan (1992-2000). Connors' efforts helped produce five bowl appearances, three post-season victories, 15 National Football League draft selections and representation in two final Top 25 polls (9/1991, 23/1995).
The Pirates also gained a reputation as one of the best fourth-quarter teams nationally under Connors' conditioning guidance. In 1996, the ECU defense did not allow a point in the fourth quarter until the seventh game of the season, and in 1999, the Pirates outscored their opponents 102-56 in the final period. In 2000, ECU held a 94-57 advantage in the fourth quarter.
He is also credited for playing an integral role in the design and development of the Pirates' 22,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility inside the Murphy Center, which opened in 2002 after his departure.
Connors, 56, has been honored as a Master Strength & Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). The Master Strength & Conditioning Coach certification is the highest honor that can be achieved as a strength and conditioning coach, representing professionalism, knowledge, experience, expertise and longevity in the field.
In addition to helping develop some of the top players in UNC's program, including Julius Peppers, Jason Brown, Ronald Curry, David Thornton, Kentwan Balmer and Hakeem Nicks, 73 of 77 all-time football strength and conditioning records were bettered during Connors' stay in Chapel Hill.
Connors also maintained department-wide responsibilities for the Tar Heels, conducting the strength and conditioning program for the four-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion and two-time Final Four participant women's basketball team, while also training the wrestling squad.
Before accepting the East Carolina position prior to the 1991 campaign, Connors was the head strength and conditioning coach at Bucknell from 1987 to 1990.
Connors is a frequently requested speaker asked to present his strength and conditioning program and philosophies to clinics and conferences across the country. He was also a competitive powerlifter who won four state titles in powerlifting and held a ranking as high as fourth nationally. Connors holds Level I certification in Olympic Weight Lifting by the U.S. Weight Lifting Federation and has had numerous articles published in Wrestling USA, NSCA Journal, Training and Conditioning Magazine and Bigger Faster Stronger Journal.
A 1980 graduate of Salem (W.Va.) College, Connors was a four-year starter at cornerback and was team captain as a senior. He led Salem in interceptions as a sophomore and junior. His efforts as a collegiate standout and career accomplishments were recognized in the summer of 2011 when Connors was inducted into the Washington-Greene Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
After college, Connors served as a police officer in Palm Beach County (Fla.) for two years. Prior to becoming a strength coach, he coached high school football and wrestling at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Fla., and coached linebackers at the Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater, Tenn.
Connors and wife Michele are the parents of two children - daughter Kaitlin and son Beau.