USOEC alum returns to help squad

trevor.pellerite

A familiar face is returning to the USOEC weightlifting program
this year. Vance Newgard, former resident athlete with the team, signed on to be assistant coach for this year’s season.
For Newgard, the coaching arrangement was a near-perfect situation.

“It allows me to do several things,” Newgard said. “It [gives] me financial support, room and board paid for and I don’t have to work a second job. Also, I love coaching. I’ve been working in strength and condition for several years now.”

Although his undergraduate degree was in social science,
Newgard brings with him a wealth of past weightlifting coaching experience, including coaching athletes at AdvantEdge Sports, a Marquette-based fitness center. He is also USA Weightlifting
Club coach certified.

This is the first time in head coach Andy Tysz’s tenure at the USOEC that the weightlifting team will have an assistant coach. He believes Newgard will be a big help around the gym.

“It’s a great asset to have him around,” he said. “If I do have to leave, I have no qualms whatsoever leaving the gym in his charge. It’s a very pleasant relief being able to have a person like that. I know that the intensity is going to stay high.”

Newgard’s roles will include assisting in the technical aspects of coaching, helping Tysz advise many athletes at once and serving as an extra pair of experienced eyes in the gym. One of his most important jobs this semester will be mentoring three first-time residents.

“I’ve assigned him three of the younger, developmental athletes,” said Tysz. “He’s been asked to design their programs and monitor their progress as the weeks and months go by.”

Newgard takes this role very seriously.

“I want to be a mentor for the underclassmen,” he said. “My main goal with them is to make them good enough to stay on as residents for the next four years.”

He believes his time spent as a resident with the USOEC will help him identify more with his athletes and improve his ability to coach them effectively.

“It’s a much easier transition than going to another program and having to learn how things are done. I know what it’s like going to school full-time and training, because I did that for seven years,” he said.

Newgard’s time as an athlete is also part of the reason Tysz feels so confident having him help coach the team.

“He was very easy to coach. [He was] like a sponge, trying to absorb everything he could,” said Tysz. “[He was] an extremely
hard worker. That’s not going to change at all for him, he’s very consistent in his character and personality.”

His coaching position will also allow Newgard to follow his dream of becoming a competitive bobsledder. In addition to any weight training he will do, he has also begun running with the women’s track team in the morning too.

“Right now I’m just a rookie; because I’m still in school I can’t compete on the world cup circuit,” he said. “Next year I hope to compete on the circuit.”

According to Newgard, it is not uncommon for weightlifters
to convert to bobsledding or luge.

“There’s no natural born bobsledders, they recruit from other sports. They need people who are strong and fast and big,” he said.

As of right now, however, Newgard will be focused on preparing
the weightlifting team for their upcoming competitions. They will have their first meet of the year Oct. 20-26, where they will participate in the Torneo Crillo Cup in San Juan, Puerto Rico.