BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | USD Sports Information
Sept. 22, 2016 | USD Athletics
VERMILLION, S.D. — When USD moved its volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams into the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, they also moved the weight room into the new arena.
The Dave & Paula Hultgren Family Weight Room was started from scratch and features new and unique pieces of equipment in the 7,500-square foot facility. It contains 24 racks, each with 2,000 pounds of weights, connected by a series of bridges; five high-speed treadmills that reach an angle of 30 degrees and a top speed of 30 mph; and a nutrition area that is open for all athletes among more lifting equipment.
Behind the design of the weight room was strength and conditioning coach Jevon Bowman, who is now in his seventh year in the position.
“The administration trusted me enough to let me run with it and build a weight room that is going to set us apart from everyone else,” Bowman said.
The project started more than three years ago with Bowman going to the administration with a three-level wish list for the weight room. Level one consisted of things that they would need to open the weight room. Level two consisted of things that would be exceptionally nice to have. Level three items would set the weight room apart.
“I was hoping we would get all three levels and we did,” Bowman said. “I don’t know how hard it was for them, but it was easy for me to say that we need all these things and this would set us apart.”
Bowman reached out to vendors, past and present coaches, and strength coaches to help guide his vision for the weight room.
“To say I designed it by myself would not be just,” Bowman said. “Many people guided me in the right way and I was able to take their thoughts and put it into the plans.”
The new facility can be used as a recruiting tool for all sports. Now that it’s up-and-running, Bowman’s focus now is getting the athletes better and ready to play. The strength and conditioning program is one of the most important pieces of any athletics program. Athletes spend a lot of time with their strength and conditioning coaches, especially during the off-season when coaches take to the road to recruit.
“We do our best to take care of the athletes when the coaches can’t be with them,” Bowman said. “We challenge student-athletes to be at their best for their coaches and our job is to keep them healthy and get them bigger, stronger, faster, and quicker.”
A former football player for the Coyotes, Bowman knows what it takes to get players ready to play. He has been with USD since graduating in 2008. As a graduate assistant, twice Bowman was elevated to interim strength and conditioning coach after the position was left vacant. Then he took over full-time after finishing his master’s degree and gaining his strength and conditioning certifications at the age of 23 in 2010, a much quicker route to the position than most.
“A lot of guys want to come back and work for their alma mater and I was lucky enough to get out of school and start working for South Dakota right away,” Bowman said.
Not knowing immediately what he wanted to do after graduating in 2008 with a degree in physical education, health, and coaching, Bowman went around to a few different schools and observed some of their strength and conditioning programs before deciding on the career.
“I wanted to stay in athletics,” Bowman said. “I didn’t want to coach, but I still wanted to be a part of it. I had always been better at lifting than I was an actual athlete.”
Bowman made the decision to get into strength and conditioning and helped build a million dollar weight room for USD eight years later. The best part of the job for Bowman is the athletes and watching them reach their full potential in sports and as people.
“The athletes are my favorite part of the job,” Bowman said. “The bond you get to build with a lot of the athletes is a bond that is not easily broken. Our job isn’t just in the weight room, but our job is that when they are done with USD, they have had a great experience.”