New Sports Performance Institute Launches at ESU

Miltenberger is the new Coordinator of Sports Performance. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki Miltenberger is the new Coordinator of Sports Performance. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki
Miltenberger is the new Coordinator of Sports Performance. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki
Miltenberger is the new Coordinator of Sports Performance.
Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki

Ronald Hanaki
Sports Editor

Back in July, ESU announced that it had launched the new ESU Sports Performance Institute. The new institute is a collaborative effort between the Departments of Exercise Science and Athletic Training.

It was also announced that Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, Dr. Matthew Miltenberger, has been officially appointed as the new Coordinator of Sports Performance.

Currently, the new institute is open to all ESU studentathletes and is housed inside Koehler Fieldhouse.

“President Welsh and the provost have been nothing but supportive, We couldn’t do this without them,” Miltenberger stated.

“It’s really a way to gather professionals together to ensure that we have student-athletes succeeding both on the field and in the classroom…It’s an all-encompassing,holistic approach to taking care of our athletes. It’s a mixture of all of us. Each one of us represents spokes on a wheel,” said Miltenberger.

“It’s Dr. Colleen Shotwell and Dr. Wendy Dietrich from athletic training. It’s Dr. Emily Sauers doing nutrition. Dr. Nancy Jo Greenawalt provides the academic support. Josh Looney, ESU’s Director of Athletics, acts as the mediator between academics and athletics. It’s Dr. Shala Davis and Dr. Leitner from sports psychology and counseling services,” explained Miltenberger.

This is actually Miltenberger’s fifth year working with Warrior student-athletes on their strength and conditioning, but this is the first year that it is officially under the aegis of the new Sports Performance Institute.

Joshua Looney, ESU’s Director of Athletics, said, “For health and safety reasons, the NCAA adopted new legislation that now requires any person who acts as a school’s strength and conditioning coach to be officially certified by a nationally recognized strength and conditioning program.”

“That new requirement passed in January, and it is effective Aug. 1,” commented Looney.

The new NCAA rule led to a discussion between Looney, Davis and Miltenberger about how ESU can better serve its student-athletes. ESU’s new Sports Performance Institute was created in order to comply with the new NCAA requirement, but it was also created to better serve Warrior student-athletes.

“ESU is building a better network for a better student-athlete experience. We are investing in relationships,” said Looney.

“A board was created to oversee the institute. It consists of myself, Dr. Dietrich, Dr. Greenawalt, Dr. Davis, Dr. Miltenberger and Dr. Shawn Munford. We meet every month,” explained Looney.

Davis said, “It’s a five-pronged approach. It consists of physical training, nutrition, academic, psychology and sports medicine / injury prevention.”

“We want our student-athletes to understand that we all should be moving our bodies and putting fuel into our bodies. We want them to make better decisions when it comes to eating, recovering and sleeping. So the timing is perfect,” said Davis.

“Back in 1999, ESU launched a student-athlete center for excellence. So in many ways, we already had a similar model. With Josh Looney’s arrival, we solidified it and decided to do it with this approach,” said Davis.

The Sports Performance Institute was created at no additional cost to ESU.

“We are doing this as part of our professional development. We are providing this as a service to our community,” explained Davis.

“We have already gotten outcome data from our first summer contingent. We are writing an article about the sports institute for publication, and that might lead to grant money that could fund a future expansion,” said Davis.

Dr. Miltenberger is excited.

“We had a launch event, and our student-athletes are buying into it and want to be a part of it,” said Miltenberger.

“This is the model that other schools will use for student-athlete success,” said Miltenberger.

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