There’s a catchphrase I’ll miss more than any other slogan in recent memory: “Fill the Sleeves.”
Of the flurry of departures from the Oregon Ducks football program over the past month, saying goodbye to strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld had the biggest impact on me. The ever-enthusiastic mustachioed strongman was a constant source of positivity on the sidelines. I will certainly miss that glorious handlebar ‘stache on gameday trying to keep former coach Mario Cristobal from stepping too far onto the field whilst arguing with referees. At times, even Feld, a muscular marvel chiseled from statuary marble, struggled to hold the Cuban-American skipper back.
As a former student-athlete, Feld’s bona fides are legit. The Mississippi State long snapper earned a masters degree in exercise science and holds certifications from both the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association and National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Prior to that, Feld started all four years as a defensive end for Homewood High School, setting the school’s all-time sack record (25) while helping the Patriots win back-to-back state titles (2004-05). In the winter, the Alabama native was on the mat, leading the Patriots’ wrestling team to a state championship in 2003.
At Oregon, you couldn’t miss him bellowing and cheering from the sidelines. During the week, he was always GRINDING, lifting and motivating student-athletes to become the best possible version of themselves. And who can forget the endless challenges Feld posed to athletes throughout the school year, from his “Squatober,” which he kicks-off with a 500-pound squat on social media, to his famous “Fill the Sleeves” campaign, a 45-day challenge consisting of 100 bicep curls and 100 tricep extensions EACH DAY.
It’s hard to imagine Feld, an Alabama boy who spent time as a strength coach at Georgia and North Alabama (and a volunteer coach at Alabama where he met Cristobal), not wanting to return to the South, near family and former Bulldogs teammates or helping yoke up players in Miami for the coach that brought him to Eugene.
It was a helluva ride ladies and gentlemen! It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead the young men of @oregonfootball. Thank you Duck Nation for embracing me and my wife and making us feel at home in the PNW. We will miss you all! 🆀🆀 pic.twitter.com/nYdLI3NT3x
— Aaron Feld (@coachfeld) January 2, 2022
For me, the most memorable part of Feld’s time at Oregon wasn’t his hype videos or strength challenges, but how he chose to leave. While others dodged questions in press conferences or slunk to the nearest exit, Feld wrote a sincere letter to Ducks fans, players and coaches about his decision to leave.
At the end of the day, people just wanted to be treated with respect and dignity, especially fans. And that was something Feld gave to each of us before heading to Miami, in addition to 25-inch biceps. HA! Let’s just say I’d have to buy a smaller shirt to fill my sleeves but I’m working on it, coach!
Now, let’s welcome Wilson Love, Oregon’s new strength and conditioning coach! He’s got some shoes, and sleeves, to fill.
San Diego, California
Top Photo By Scott Kelley
Jordan is a lifelong Duck fan currently living in San Diego. Jordan graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, after serving a prestigious fellowship with the Washington State House of Representatives. Upon graduation, he worked as an English language teaching assistant for the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Ambassadorial Program in Monforte de Lemos, Spain. Jordan has worked as a journalist, writer, and editor in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California, covering a wide range of topics, including sports, local politics, and crime. He is VERY excited to be writing about his beloved Oregon Ducks.
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