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A Testimony from Coach Eaton
At a very young age I experienced very traumatic things that no child should ever go through. The loss of my mother at a young age set me down the wrong path in my adolescent life, and adult life. With sports, especially football, it was my way of getting out all of the rage I may have had for that day. I learned to turn a negative into a positive by working on my craft. My high school strength coach Dave Wetzel is the reason why I started to love training and getting stronger. His no-nonsense approach was the seed that I needed planted. For me, at first, I saw a crazy jacked up dude who just loved to lift weights, but things changed when he actually guided me, pushed me, cared and loved me the way a coach should. I never thought I would be a strength coach but if not for him I would not have become a Strength & Conditioning Coach. For me the weight room became why way out. It was the place where no one would lie to me, abuse me, and make me feel like I was nothing. It became my sanctuary, a saving grace.
I was hooked when I saw how training could not only change you physically, but mentally. I was also truly changed when I saw what training did for teamwork and learning how to work with others and trust the person beside you. It gave me the confidence to hold my head up and look a person in the eye. I am a firm believer that the IRON truly SHARPENED me to help others later in life.
Everything that has happened in my life has made me a better coach. I’ve taken all those experiences and put them into a mental rolodex and been able to use them in a positive way. Strength training, and the passion for life, became apart of me and really became my PURPOSE.
Training and everything that encompasses it literally became a life saving event. It helped bring me out of the darkness. The IRON, and the people behind the IRON are the reason why I’m still here able to share, and empower others around me to go through the fire TOGETHER and not ALONE.
Coach Eaton started out his coaching career as an intern with the eventual Orange Bowl Champion football team at Penn State University in State College, PA in 2006 under the direction of John Thomas and Jeremy Scott. After gaining valuable experience through that internship he went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Management with a concentration in Fitness Management from Lock Haven University in 2009. Upon graduation, he interned out on the west coast with San Diego State University Football under the direction of Aaron Wellman. After his internship was completed he stayed out in San Diego doing personal training for the remainder of the year. At this point he was looking to fully get back into Collegiate Strength & Conditioning, he was able to find another internship in Waco, TX at Baylor University under the direction of world renowned coach, Kaz Kazadi. Highlights from his time with the Bears included working with Heisman Trophy Winner and National Football League 1st Round Draft Pick Robert Griffin III and 1st Round Draft Pick Kendall Wright. While at Baylor Coach Eaton was responsible for the implementation and instruction of Baylor’s Spirit Squad athletic Performance Program, while assisting with Football.
At Baylor he was able to establish great working relationships with several soon-to-be head strength coaches, inlcuding Keith Belton, who would later go on to hire Eaton at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Those connections helped land him back on the east coast in Baltimore, MD. In Maryland he took a paid internship opportunity with Morgan State University. He spent two seasons there, first as a paid intern for a few months, then moving up to a Graduate Assistant role, then into a Full Time Assistant Role. It was at Morgan State where he really learned how to manage a significant amount of teams. He worked directly with the Men’s basketball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s volleyball, and spirit squad strength & conditioning programs, while assisting with the football program.
True to his connections and relationships, his mentor, Keith Belton, hired him as his 1st Assistant at UNLV in 2016-17. He was responsible for the implementation and instruction of the Softball Strength & Conditioning Program in 2016-17. He also assisted with the Rebels Football Strength & Conditioning Program. When Belton left for USC in 17′, Eaton was at a cross-roads in his decisions. He interviewed for the Director spot at UNLV but didn’t get it. He stayed on for a few months and eventually earned a position at Purdue Univeristy as the Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning, this was his first Power 5 Full Time Assistant position. While at Purdue for two seasons he was in charge of the Spirit Squad, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, while assisting with football. Highlights include being a part of Purdue Spirit Squad’s first ever National Championship, as well as working with National Football League 5th Round Draft Pick Ja’Whaun Bentley, and eventual 2020 7th Round Pick Markus Bailey. While at Purdue, Coach Eaton, once again made great connections and built relationships. He met former Alabama Running Back, and NFL un-drafted free agent, Shaud Williams, while Williams was at the University of Wisconsin. It was through a meeting a year back at a Strength & Conditioning conference when they met through Eaton’s mentor, Belton, that they made the connection. This eventually would lead to the reason why Coach Eaton was able to come on at the University of Oregon in 2019 under the direction of another world renowned coach, Aaron Feld.
In his third year as an Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach/Internship Coordinator at The University of Oregon. Coach Eaton assists with the implementation and instruction for the Offensive Line and Defensive Line. As the Intern Coordinator his primary responsibility is to help develop young Strength & Conditioning Interns through a year-round comprehensive curriculum ranging from Anatomy/Physiology, Periodization, Sports Psychology, Biomechanic Principles, and many other areas that encompass Strength & Conditioning and Athletic Performance. Highlights from working with young aspiring strength coaches is the overall growth and development from day one to when they transition into a new role or at the end of the internship. Seeing them go from maybe not being fully confident to having a presence, and getting jobs as Paid Interns, Graduate Assistants, or Assistants is one of the best parts of being the Intern Coordinator. Highlights from working with the athletes include working with National Football League 1st Round Draft Pick Justin Herbert, 4th Round Draft Pick Troy Dye, 5th Round Draft Pick Shane Lemieux, and 6th Round Draft Pick Jake Hanson.