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Jeff Connors' Strength and Conditioning Clinic
Jeff Connors' Strength & Conditioning Clinics
Coaching Staff

Jeff Connors
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Jeff Connors enters the fourth 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). Connors' efforts helped produce five bowl appearances, three post-season victories, 15 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.

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, 58, 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.

 

Blaine Kinsley
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Blaine Kinsley begins his second season with the East Carolina strength and conditioning staff, where he is primarily responsible for working with baseball, softball and tennis, while assisting with football.

Kinsley comes to ECU after spending 16 months working in the Chicago Cubs organization as the head strength coach for the Peoria Chiefs, the Cubs Low Class A affiliate. While in Peoria, he was responsible for implementing the strength and conditioning program and injury prevention. Following the 2012 season, Kinsley was named Midwest League Strength and Conditioning Coach-of-the-Year.

Prior to his time in the Cubs organization, Kinsley interned at Hendricks Motor Sports where he was responsible for assisting with workouts for the Pit Crew in the summer of 2010.

Kinsley, who also has three years of coaching experience, served as an assistant Babe Ruth coach at the Greenville Parks and Recreation (2008-09), has worked baseball camps at the University of Virginia (2009) and was an assistant development JV Coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (2010) where he worked with the pitching staff and coached third base.

A native of Greenville, N.C., Kinsley earned his bachelor's degree in sports management with a minor in health and exercise science from Lenoir Rhyne, where he was a four-year letterwinner in baseball and two-year letterman in football for the Bears.

assistant coach at nearby Chicopee Comprehensive High School before graduating in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

 

Dan Millington
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Dan Millington was hired as assistant strength and conditioning coach at East Carolina University in July of 2014.

Millington comes from Indiana State University where he worked under the same title for three years. In addition to assisting the head strength and conditioning coach with football, he designed and implemented strength, speed and conditioning programs for men's and women's basketball, baseball, women's soccer, volleyball, golf and track and field.

Among numerous other responsibilities, Millington also developed, organized and served as the director of Indiana State's strength and conditioning clinic.

His career began as senior undergraduate intern with the strength and conditioning program at ISU, before accepting a postgraduate internship at Villanova for the 2010-11 season.

Millington earned his bachelor's degree in exercise science from Indiana State in 2010, before earning his M.B.A., at his alma mater in May 2014. He was a four-year letterman and defensive lineman with the football team during his time in Terre Haute and a Second Team Academic All-America choice in 2009. He was also selected to the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team that year.

 

Matthew Slachetka
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Matthew Slachetka, a former United States Marines and strength coach with more than nine years of experience, has been named assistant strength and conditioning coach at East Carolina University.

Slachetka will work directly with men’s basketball, while assisting with football and several Olympic sports.

“He worked under one of my good friends, Joe Kenn, who is a strength and conditioning coach with the Carolina Panthers, so he came highly recommended,” said assistant athletics director and head strength coach Jeff Connors. “Anyone who has worked under Joe is going to bring something additional to the table. Matt’s experience as a football player will also be an addition and his mentality fits in with my approach very well.”

Slachetka arrives after a one-year stint at Eastern Michigan University where he was an associate head sports performance coach and primarily in charge of programming for the football, baseball, volleyball, track and field sprinting and golf programs.

Prior to his time at EMU, Slachetka was an assistant strength coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for one season following nearly two years as a graduate assistant at Eastern Illinois University. At EIU, he earned a Master of Science degree in kinesiology and sports studies in the spring of 2012.

After serving five years in the Unites States Marines, which included two tours of combat duty in Iraq, he received an honorable discharge in June 2006 and walked on to the University of Massachusetts football team as an offensive lineman. In his spare time, he was also an assistant coach at nearby Chicopee Comprehensive High School before graduating in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

 

Robert Tate
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Robert Tate returned to East Carolina University as assistant strength & conditioning coach on June 8, 2015.

Tate, who served the Pirates in the same position from August 2011 until October 2012, handles athletic performance responsibilities for the ECU women’s basketball and soccer programs.

Prior to his initial arrival at East Carolina, Tate had three different stints as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at North Carolina from 2002-04, 2006-07 and 2010-11. From 2004-06, he was the football, track and strength & conditioning coach at Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C.

Tate earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UNC Wilmington in 2000.

 

Katelyn Woolfolk
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Katelyn Woolfolk joined ECU Athletics as assistant strength and conditioning coach in August of 2015.

Woolfolk previously served in the same role at Florida Tech, a position she assumed in 2012. During her time with the Panthers, she was responsible for the design and development of the school’s first strength program for its student-athletes. She handled all budget and programming initiatives to balance the department’s 22 varsity teams while developing a marketing plan geared toward targeting prospective college athletes.

Prior to her arrival at Florida Tech, Woolfolk spent two years as a graduate assistant strength coach at Georgia Southern University, creating and assisting with strength programs for 11 different sports.

A four-year letter winner as a member of Georgia Southern’s swimming and diving team, Woolfolk earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in exercise science in 2009 before completing a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on sports nutrition from her alma mater in 2012. She is certified by the NSCA as a strength and conditioning specialist, while also holding credentials as a Level I USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach.