All programs have them and they are often overlooked by the fans. They are the people who transform incoming freshmen into future stars.
These unsung heroes are the strength and conditioning coaches, and they are just as important to the program as each position coach. Without them, no amount of scouting or play calling would help the team win. Fans of Oregon have grown accustomed to seeing players run the offense at breakneck speeds.
However, without the strength and conditioning coaches, Oregon would be just as slow as Stanford. While all sports at Oregon are assigned a specific conditioning coach, the man most responsible for the speed at Oregon is Jim Radcliffe.
There is a reason why teams break down when they play the Oregon offense. It is true that positions at Oregon run two and even three players deep.
But the main reason is that Radcliffe has conditioned the players to be able to run at a high tempo on offense.
If you just look around the country, whenever a team comes to play Oregon, they try to cram in as much conditioning as possible in preparation for the tempo. Most of the time they end up failing to be prepared for one reason — we have Radcliffe and they don’t. This has led teams to take desperate measures — particularly Cal, as they have been caught faking injuries to slow Oregon down.
If there was one word to describe Oregon, it would be speed – and Radcliffe is directly responsible for it. For the past 29 years he has been leading Oregon by making athletes bigger, stronger and faster. Not only has he been in charge of building up the football team, but he cares for the track & field and the baseball teams, as well. Since he has been the head strength and conditioning coach, Oregon has won seven Pac-10/12 titles, two Rose Bowls, and two Fiesta Bowls. As for track & field, his program has led to 11 men’s and women’s national championships, as well as an astounding 23 Pac-10/12 conference championships.
Under his lead, the football and track and field programs have thrived, leading to some crossover athletes. We all know of the exploits of Devon Allen, but he is just the latest of a long line. De’anthony Thomas, Lamichael James, Kenjon Barner and Jordan Kent have all had success in both sports, thanks in big part to Radcliffe’s training regimen.
As shown below, colleges and athletes hold a great deal of respect for Radcliffe, not only because he produces results, but because he is also one of the most intimidating people you will ever meet.
Still unconvinced as to how integral Radcliffe is to the success at Oregon? Get a copy of the Mighty Oregon DVD. Follow how Oregon has changed from a Pac-10 doormat into the class of the conference. This DVD is all the proof anyone will ever need to appreciate the work Radcliffe has done, and what he means to Oregon.
There is a reason why Oregon has been able to maintain a high level of success over the past six years. We have lost all-time greats such as Marcus Mariota, Josh Huff and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Radcliffe, however, has been able to develop players to be not only as good as, but often better than, their predecessors. As long as Radcliffe continues to be a part of the Oregon program we will continue to be the fastest school in the country.
Featured Photo by Ryan Kang
Article Inspiration Mighty Oregon DVD
For more on Oregon’s rise to a Pac-12 power at http://www.mightyoregondvd.com/