Tennessee officially has a new Director of Strength and Conditioning.
After over a week of reports, the Vols officially announced the hiring of Rock Gullickson to the position, bringing the former Rams, Packers and Saints strength coach to Knoxville to lead that area of the program.
“We are ecstatic to welcome Rock Gullickson and his wife, Terry, into the Tennessee family,” Butch Jones said in a release on Tuesday afternoon. “I’ve personally known Rock for more than 20 years and know what he stands for as a coach and a person. He fits the culture we are continuing to build at UT and he has a comprehensive plan that I truly believe our players will greatly benefit from.
“He is passionate about his work, a tireless worker, detail-oriented and has a tremendous track record of developing and motivating players to reach their maximum potential. The strength staff spends more time with our players than anyone and he, along with our current staff, will provide our players with the type of training needed to compete at the highest level.”
A 39-year strength coaching veteran, Gullickson was named NFL Strength Coach of the Year in 2007 when he was with the Packers. Gullickson will also oversee the strength program for all 20 sports at Tennessee, in addition to his football duties.
Gullickson will look to bring stability to a program that’s been in flux for the past year after Dave Lawson stopped working the football team last January. Lawson left Tennessee altogether later in the spring. That left added responsibility for coach Mike Szerszen and three other strength coaches, while Lawson’s spot ultimately was left unfilled during the 2016 football season. That decision was heavily scrutinized as the Vols piled up an alarming number of injuries during the 2016 season – one of the factors that led to them not living up to expectations in 2016.
Gullickson certainly has the resume to be an effective leader in what is one of the most overlooked, but valuable, jobs in college athletics.