Jeff Connors' Strength & Conditioning Clinics
Coaching Staff

Jeff Connors
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Jeff Connors enters the seventh year of his second tour of duty as assistant athletics director for strength and conditioning at East Carolina after rejoining the Pirates' staff Jan. 21, 2011.

Connors took over ECU's top athletic performance position after spending 10 seasons on the University of North Carolina staff as strength and conditioning coordinator and assistant athletics director, a title he was elevated to a year after his arrival in 2001.

His current assignment at East Carolina marks his second stint with the Pirate program after an earlier 10-year strength and conditioning leadership tenure with head football coaches Bill Lewis (1991 season) and Steve Logan (1992-2000). In all, Connors' efforts helped produce eight bowl appearances, four post-season victories, 16 National Football League draft selections and representation in two final Top 25 polls (9/1991, 23/1995).

He is also credited for playing an integral role in the design and development of the Pirates' 22,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility inside the Murphy Center, which opened in 2002 after his departure.

Connors has been honored as a Master Strength & Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA). The Master Strength & Conditioning Coach certification is the highest honor that can be achieved as a strength and conditioning coach, representing professionalism, knowledge, experience, expertise and longevity in the field.

Connors reached the pinnacle of his profession in 2016 when he was inducted into the USA Strength & Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. Additionally, he was selected as the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s College Strength and Conditioning Coach-of-the-Year, becoming the 36th recipient of the award.

Another one of Connors' highest personal accomplishments was his induction into the Washington-Greene Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. Fittingly, his entry came on the 15th anniversary of the selection of his father and former high school coach, William D. Connors, into the same Hall. Additionally, Connors' place in the Washington-Greene Chapter of the PSHOF puts him alongside distinguished names such as Barry Alvarez, Marvin Lewis, Ralph Cindrich, John Banaszak, Hal Hunter and Cary Kolat to name a few.

Three years later, in 2014, Connors was one of only 25 invitees nationally to attend the United States Marine Corps Executive Forum (MCEF) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

In addition to helping develop some of the top players in UNC's program, including Julius Peppers, Jason Brown, Ronald Curry, David Thornton, Kentwan Balmer and Hakeem Nicks, 73 of 77 all-time football strength and conditioning records were bettered during Connors' stay in Chapel Hill.

Connors also maintained department-wide responsibilities for the Tar Heels, conducting the strength and conditioning program for the four-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion and two-time Final Four participant women's basketball team, while also training the wrestling squad.

Before accepting the East Carolina position prior to the 1991 campaign, Connors was the head strength and conditioning coach at Bucknell from 1987 to 1990.

Connors, 61, is a frequently requested speaker asked to present his strength and conditioning program and philosophies to clinics and conferences across the country. He was also a competitive powerlifter who won four state titles in powerlifting and held a ranking as high as fourth nationally. Connors holds Level I certification in Olympic Weight Lifting by the U.S. Weight Lifting Federation and has had numerous articles published in Wrestling USA, NSCA Journal, Training and Conditioning Magazine and Bigger Faster Stronger Journal.

In 2013, Connors authored his first book - Strength Coach, A Call To Serve - which not only chronicles his illustrious career, but outlines a distinctive philosophy he has crafted during his calling in the profession. The part-memoir, part-training manual offers readers inspirational and spiritual insight into both his heart and head.

A 1980 graduate of Salem (W.Va.) College, Connors was a four-year starter at cornerback and was team captain as a senior. He led Salem in interceptions as a sophomore and junior.

After college, Connors served as a police officer in Palm Beach County (Fla.) for two years. Prior to becoming a strength coach, he coached high school football and wrestling at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Fla., and coached linebackers at the Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater, Tenn.

Connors and wife Michele are the parents of two children - daughter Kaitlin and son Beau.

 

Vinnie Calautti
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Vinnie Calautti joined ECU as an assistant strength and conditioning coach prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year and works directly with men's and women's basketball as well as lacrosse.

Before coming aboard the ECU coaching staff, Calautti spent four seasons as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Boston University where he worked directly with men’s basketball and men’s soccer as well as men’s and women’s tennis.

With the assistance of Calautti’s training methods, BU captured the 2014 Patriot League regular-season men’s basketball and men’s soccer championships.

Prior to BU, Calautti served as a strength coach at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning where he implemented sports performance programs for high school and collegiate athletes.

During the summer of 2013 he was a strength coach at the USA Women’s Developmental Camp where he directed teams through a customized two-day strength program and conducted a seminar of the importance of strength training, injury prevention and nutrition.

As an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Calautti served as an intern with the men’s basketball team and the implementation of the strength training and injury reduction programs.

Calautti is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the NSCA and holds certification as a Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach (SCCC).

Calautti is a 2012 graduate of UMass with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree from ECU in the same field of study.

 

Brandon Golden
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Brandon Golden in his second year as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at ECU, a position he began on January 3, 2017.

He is responsible for designing and implementing yearly-individualized programs for Pirate Baseball, which includes various workouts for starting pitchers, relievers, and back of the bullpen players. Similarly, he overseas specific training for everyday players with regard to the positions they play. While on the road, he plays a vital role in making sure that the athletes have everything they need to recover from the previous days games/workouts.

Golden returned to his alma mater after spending nearly six months as a member of Charleston Southern University’s strength and conditioning staff.

Prior to CSU, Golden served as a Graduate Assistant Sports Performance Coach at St. John’s University from 2014-2016. During his time with the Red Storm, Golden was responsible for the design and implementation of comprehensive strength and conditioning programs for baseball, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s soccer and women’s track & field.

While at St. John’s, Golden also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2015. While working with USA Baseball, he was responsible for the athletes’ summer programs and all aspects of training and recovery.

Prior to St. John’s, Golden served as a Volunteer Assistant Sports Performance Coach at Wake Forest and a Volunteer Strength and Conditioning Coach at Mississippi State in 2014.

Golden also spent time at High Point from 2012-14 as a Volunteer Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach where he designed and implemented programs for the HPU Golf and Cheerleading teams. He also assisted with the implementation of Olympic based strength and conditioning programs across the athletic department.

Golden, who holds SCCC-CSCCa, CSCS-NCSA and USAW certifications, is a 2012 graduate of ECU with a bachelor of science in health and fitness. He received his graduate degree in 2016 from St. John’s University with a concentration in sports management.

He is married to the former Emily Lewis of Greensboro, N.C. and currently resides in Greenville, N.C. with their son Hudson.

 

De'Vaughn Gordon
Strength & Conditioning Coach

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Sniezek
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Emily Sniezek was named assistant strength and conditioning coach at ECU in October of 2017.

Prior to joining the Pirates’ strength and conditioning staff, Sniezek served as a fitness manager at Aquaventure in Winterville, N.C. after completing a three-month internship at Greenville Aquatic and Fitness Center.

As an intern at Greenville Aquatic and Fitness Center, she was responsible for developing specific exercise prescriptions for facility members and conducting fitness assessments comprised of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.

Sniezek also completed a one-year practicum at Youngstown State University in 2015. She also assisted clients with stretches and provided wound care as an observational learner at Specialty Orthopedics (Hermitage, Pa.) as an undergraduate.

A 2016 graduate of Youngstown State, Sniezek received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science with a major in exercise science.