KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee announced today that Rock Gullickson has been named director of strength and conditioning.
A veteran of 39 years of coaching experience in strength and conditioning, including 17 in the NFL, Gullickson spent the past eight seasons as the head strength coach of the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. In his first season with the club in 2009, he reconstructed the weight room and shifted the program emphasis to training for power and explosiveness. Heavy emphasis was placed on increasing strength levels with modifications based on specific player needs. Gullickson directed the building and reconstructing of the layout of the Rams new facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
In addition to his duties with the Tennessee football program, Gullickson will oversee strength and conditioning for all 20 UT sport programs.
"We are estactic to welcome Rock Gullickson and his wife, Terry, into the Tennessee family,” said Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones. “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."
Prior to joining the Rams, Gullickson spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers as the head strength coach. He was named NFL Strength Coach of the Year in 2007, an award voted on by all 32 strength and conditioning coaches in the NFL.
Gullickson entered the NFL coaching ranks in 2000 with the New Orleans Saints, serving as strength and conditioning coach through the 2005 season. Before joining the Saints, Gullickson served as a collegiate coach for 22 seasons. He spent time at Louisville from 1998-99 and Texas from 1993-97, where he worked with future NFL players, including Ricky Williams, Priest Holmes and Casey Hampton.
A native of Moorhead, Minn., Gullickson spent three seasons (1990-92) at Rutgers where he worked with current UT head coach Jones. Gullickson joined Montana State in 1982 where he became the first full-time strength and conditioning coach in the history of the Big Sky Conference. He designed a weight room facility at Montana State that played a key role in the program winning the 1984 National Collegiate Division I-AA championship. He was named strength coach and weight room instructor at South Dakota State in 1981 where he earned his master’s degree. He also spent two seasons (1979-80) at Mayville State in North Dakota, where he was an assistant football coach, head track and field coach and strength coach.
A graduate of Moorhead State, Gullickson began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1978. He was a three-year starter at guard and team captain for the Dragons, earning All-Northern Sun Conference honors and was an Associated Press Division III All-American in 1977 as a senior.
What They’re Saying
"Rock is one of my favorite coaches that I’ve ever been around in the NFL. Some of my best memories were in the weight room working with him. Tennessee is getting a hard-working guy who loves working with athletes, a guy who loves the technique and all the small details of working out. He’s also someone that I felt you could go talk to. He was always there to listen and give advice, which I think is important because there are some times when you don’t want to go to your position coach or bug the head coach. You just want to talk to somebody that will give you honest advice.
"As far as the weight room goes, especially transitioning from college to the NFL, I couldn’t have asked for a better strength coach. He was detailed and always willing to do extra to help. I’m excited he gets the opportunity to work with someone I know he respects a lot in head coach Butch Jones. I know Rock is extremely excited for the opportunity at Tennessee."
— James Laurinaitis, NFL Linebacker
"Rock is a true example of what hard work can bring. He’s a coach who is insanely put-together in all of his years of experience. He’s a technician and a guy who really cares about doing lifts the right way. He stresses taking care of your body during the process as well as building your body during the process. I think Rock has so much knowledge and so much experience that there aren’t many strength coaches in the country that have more. No strength coach has been around more elite athletes than Rock has. He definitely knows what it takes to be successful. He truly has an eye for what is good and what it takes to contribute to a winning football team."
— Johnny Hekker, Punter, Los Angeles Rams
"I know Rock is going to be a big addition to the Tennessee program. He is someone who transformed me into a real professional. Rock just knows how to get the best out of every athlete."
— Benny Cunningham, Running Back, Los Angeles Rams
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)