Will Stern Honored By National Strength And Conditioning Association

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Will Stern
Will Stern
Will Stern joined the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in 1981 as a non-strength coach and was one of the first 126 people in the world to earn the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification in 1985. He recently earned the CSCS with Distinction. Stern is the Chairman of the NSCA Membership Committee and was the National Chair for the Nutrition, Metabolism, and Body Composition Special Interest Group (SIG) for the NSCA for four years.

Currently, Stern is an Instructor in the Health and Human Performance Department at the University of Tennessee (UTC) at Chattanooga. He was a professor of Health and Physical Education at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA for 14 years and an adjunct professor at UTC for twenty years.
He has taught first grade through eighth grade math, science and physical education; coached in high school; and taught both undergraduate and master level courses for over thirty years. His area of teaching has focused on math, science, health, nutrition, exercise, metabolism, and strength. Stern was a Division I National Women’s Volleyball official for 18 years and has coached eight different sports from elementary school through the NCAA Division I level and has a .685 winning percentage while winning more than 75 championships.

1. How did you get started in your career?
I started out as a middle school boys and girls basketball coach. Then, I taught second through eighth grade math and science for five years. I got an opportunity to begin a college women’s athletic program and became interested in how to improve their play and strength. I went back to earn my first Master’s degree in the field of exercise with a focus on how muscles worked. 

2. Who has helped you achieve your personal career goals? How did they help?
I had two important mentors in my life. The first was my baseball coach at Covenant College, Dr. Walter Bowman, who saw more in me than I saw in myself. He encouraged me to live my dream of coaching and gave me my first college coaching job for a salary of 19 dollars per week. I learned how to be an effective manager, how to motivate players, and how to promote my teams and sport. Dr. W. Leroy Fanning (who I coached with, taught with, shared an office with, wrote a book with, and who is a great friend) taught me how to be a professional. He made my time at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga a real learning experience.

3. How has the NSCA helped in your professional career?
I was able to use my CSCS® certification and NSCA vendor contacts to help select equipment for four separate facilities. I worked with multiple teams to help them be as strong and fit as needed for their sports. The knowledge gained from attending NSCA events has helped me stay current in the field for the teaching of my classes.

4. In what ways have you been involved with the NSCA?
When I first joined the NSCA, I just went to the National Conferences and listened. I took and passed the first CSCS® exam in 1985. I attended these conferences about once every three years based on location. It was not until 2005 that I saw the value of attending as many meetings as I was able to attend. In 2007, I became the National Chair for the Nutrition, Metabolism, and Body Composition (NMBC) Special Interest Group (SIG). Then, I was accepted as a member of the Membership Committee and this past year I became the Chairman of the Membership Committee.

5. How has volunteering helped you contribute to your community?
I have done some TV work on fitness, exercise, and health. I am available to give talks and demonstrations to local groups as needed. The idea of giving back is something that I have my students learn by volunteering at events held in the Chattanooga area.

6. What personal goals have you achieved by volunteering with the NSCA?
By volunteering with the NSCA, I have been more involved in learning so that I can share that knowledge with friends, students, colleagues, and the general public. With so much misinformation available, it is important to be current and correct with information.

7. What advice would you provide to those looking to volunteer with the NSCA?
Just start applying to volunteer. Many times we think that we are not as qualified as others, but you may be surprised how you can help in the NSCA. I know I thought the same thing before I applied and was named to the NMBC SIG.

8. What advice would you give to those just starting out in their career?
There is something new almost every day so you have to keep up with research and what is being done in strength and fitness training. My advice is to go to as many conferences, symposiums, and meetings as you can. Try to learn at least one new thought at each session you attend, meet as many people as you can, and eat meals with other attendees so you can talk shop. Make sure you visit all of the vendors to see the new equipment and learn any new concepts.

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