The Bison Shepherd: Jerry Shreck

Cooper Josephs, Assistant News Editor

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At 6:30 a.m. on a chilly, fall morning, most University students are still asleep in their beds. But for the University’s Strength and Conditioning manager, Jerry Shreck, the day is already in full throttle. By 6:50 a.m. Shreck walks through the Davis Gym doors, greeting the men’s lacrosse team while the players warm up for their team lift.

“Good morning, gentlemen! Today we’re getting into some fun lifts. But first, let’s fire up your core before your workout,” Shreck said.

The warm-up ends with a five-minute, non-stop core extravaganza.

“Rep it out, rep it out! Let’s get stronger today!” Shreck said.

Finishing with a minute plank, Shreck walks up to one of the players and places his foot on his back.

“You can do this all day. It looks like you need some help … you’re getting some bonus points today,” Shreck said.

As the head strength and conditioning coach since 2000, Shreck has been helping the Bison pull out the big “W” on game day by making athletes stronger, faster, and more powerful. He coordinates and oversees the fitness regimens of 780 athletes (27 varsity teams and one club team).

“I did the math one time, and we get about 2,200 to 2,700 workouts through the weight room every week,” Shreck said.

A 1996 East Stroudsburg University graduate, Shreck holds a dual degree in movement studies and exercise science, and is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Council of Strength and Fitness. He has contributed to many fitness websites, created an ACL tear prevention video, and gives yearly talks at national athletic conferences.

Once the lacrosse team finishes its warm-up and starts its lift routine in the weight room, Shreck makes slow, deliberate circles around each weight station. Observing all the athletes, he throws in lines of encouragement over the loud music. 

“There are few people whose sole presence in the room makes you want to perform at the highest level,” rower Andrew Vinnik ’17 said.

Athletes are in trouble if they don’t finish a workout or miss a scheduled lift. Shreck likes to assign tire flips and core exercises in these instances.

“He demands a high level of intensity and makes you more focused. He holds every[one] to these standards,” assistant men’s lacrosse coach Nick Marks said.

While heavy squatting is exciting to see, Shreck believes numbers do not necessarily determine strength. As long as someone does everything they can, Shreck considers them strong. And while strength development is important, Shreck believes fitness regimens must revolve around injury prevention.

“These aren’t just a bunch of random exercises on paper … there’s a reason we do every single exercise on the programs,” Shreck said.

Each sport stresses different movements that must be considered when making these regimes.

“He is well aware of the muscle groups and movements important to each sport and the injuries that are common … we’re lucky to have him,” Marks said.

“His background in injury prevention makes him extremely knowledgeable,” fitness strength assistant Cassandra Baier said.

Shreck is in his office by 5:50 a.m. every day and sometimes doesn’t leave work until 6:15 p.m. His boisterous attitude is consistent despite sometimes closing the week with 72 hours of work-time under his belt.

“Even if I didn’t have a cup of coffee in the morning, I would still bounce around and yell,” Shreck said. “What keeps me going are the athletes. I love watching them develop and break their PRs. I would hate to be stuck behind a desk all day long.”

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