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Master of his craft

May 22, 2014
Brad Ohrt

Brad Ohrt

Northern Illinois University Director of Sports Performance Brad Ohrt received the prestigious title of master strength & conditioning coach by the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association at the CSCCa’s annual convention in Salt Lake City.

“You have to hold yourself to a higher standard knowing you’re considered a master in this profession,” Ohrt said. “There are certain things people try to do on a professional basis, but this is one more thing that separates yourself.”

A native of New Ulm, Minn., Ohrt enters his 18th season in college football and his title of master strength & conditioning coach is recognition for his years of service in the profession.

“The CSCCa does a couple different certifications,” he said. “Then, they offer another level to anyone that’s been a full-time collegiate or professional strength and conditioning coach for 12 years or more. They can apply to be considered a master strength and conditioning coach. It’s their way to distinguish those who had the extra years of service.”

While Ohrt’s title is recognition for his service in the profession, it’s part of a bigger movement by the CSCCa and the NCAA to have all strength and conditioning coaches be certified by August of 2015. All interns and graduate assistants will have to go through a practicum doing 600-plus hours of certification, take a written exam, write a program and then defend and demonstrate they can teach that program properly to all the master coaches.

“This test is a lot harder to take and a lot harder to pass,” Ohrt said. “They’re trying to make this the gold standard for what the NCAA is trying to achieve with this August 2015 deadline.”

MSCC badgeWhile overseeing the entire strength and conditioning efforts of the 17 Huskie Athletics teams, Ohrt works primarily with the NIU football program. During his tenure, the Huskies have appeared in three-straight Mid-American Conference championship games, with the league title in 2011 and 2012. In addition to the team’s success, Ohrt has trained two league MVPs and one Heisman Trophy finalist.

Ohrt, who earned his master’s degree from Kansas and has had stops at six other universities and one NFL team, has found a home at NIU. Ohrt is entering his fourth year with NIU, the most time he has spent at one place during his career. He enjoys it at NIU, and takes pride in the attention he and his staff received at the convention from other coaches across the country.

“Northern’s a great place. It’s amazing how other coaches at this recent convention have realized that Northern is doing a nice job, not only with football, but with all the sports,” Ohrt said. “There were a lot of coaches, many from the power five conferences, that came up to me and my staff wondering what we’re doing because everything we’re doing is working really well, which is kind of unique.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve told them all we’ve got great student-athletes, really good coaches and we’re trying to do the right things to develop them the best we possibly can.”

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