The Florida A&M University athletic department will be missing a face this upcoming year. Last week strength and conditioning coach Antonio Wallace stepped down from his position.
The absence of Wallace comes just as the FAMU football team is gearing up for the upcoming season. Strength and conditioning are the main component when it comes to the development of an effective workout regime for players during the summer.
“I went in to the weight room to lift and there was no coach,” said junior long snapper Jay Culpepper. “At first I thought it was a joke. Then I thought it was a test, so I stayed.”
The actual football season starts September through December, depending on whether a team makes a deep run in the playoffs, and a possible championship. That leaves about eight months for a team to improve for the next season and that time is vital for athletes to commit to a proper strength and conditioning program.
The impact of Wallace leaving his position is not only felt by the football team, but also by other FAMU sports because he was the strength and conditioning coordinator for them as well. He developed programs for the men’s and women’s tennis and basketball teams, softball team and volleyball team.
Taking over for Wallace is his assistant Anthony Harvey. Interim athletic director Mike Smith gave Harvey a call asking him if he were interested.
“I didn’t want them to feel like they were abandoned, so I made my decision based on the athletes,” said the new strength and conditioning coach. “I also thought it would’ve been an easy transition for the guys because more than half of them already know my face.”
“Things are pretty much the same. Coach Harvey pushes us just as hard when we run and lift weights like Coach Wallace,” said junior defensive tackle Padric Scott. “He has our respect because he already knows the program.”
Harvey knows that there is a big learning curve taking on this responsibility at this stage, but he’s up for the challenge. Making schedules, dealing with other coaches and handling more of the administrative duties are all tasks that he plans on perfecting while he is the interim strength and conditioning coach.
“I know the position is temporary, but hopefully the time frame will be longer than shorter,” said Harvey. “If I get the opportunity for another interview I will gladly take it.”
Coach Harvey has been in charge of the football team’s 5:45 a.m. workouts since July 1.