Tampa, FL - The University of South Florida has hired Mike Golden to be its head strength and conditioning coach, the athletic department announced on Tuesday. Golden comes to USF with 15 years of collegiate strength and conditioning experience, including 11 as a head strength coach. Most recently, Golden served in the same position at East Carolina University for five seasons, including four with current USF head football coach Skip Holtz. Golden also worked with Holtz at the University of Connecticut in 1998.
“I’m looking forward to joining the USF family,” said Golden. “I’m excited about the direction that all the athletic programs are headed. I had a great experience at ECU, but I’m looking forward to this new chapter at USF and can’t wait to be a part of it.”
While at East Carolina, Golden provided direct strength training leadership to the Pirates' football program, while coordinating off-season and in-season applications for the remaining 18 ECU teams. He was often credited by Holtz for playing an integral role in the turnaround of a Pirate program that had won just three games in 25 outings prior to 2005 and went on to claim back-to-back Conference USA titles in 2008 and ’09.
“I am very pleased that Mike has agreed to join the USF team,” Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard said. “He is a very experienced and accomplished coach, who will serve all of our women's and men's teams well. Mike's leadership, talent and passion for developing student-athletes will be great assets to our program and we are fortunate he is on board.”
Prior to taking over ECU's top athletic performance position, Golden spent three years on the South Carolina staff beginning in March of 2002 as assistant strength coach, where he worked directly with the Gamecocks' tennis and women's golf teams, while also providing ancillary support for the football, volleyball and cheerleading programs. In 2004, he designed and implemented South Carolina football's summer strength, speed and conditioning program.
In March of 1998, after spending 20 months working with the strength and athletic programs at Bloomfield (Conn.) High School, Golden accepted a position as head football strength and conditioning coach under Holtz at the University of Connecticut, where he designed, implemented and supervised all weight training, agility and conditioning sessions. He also coordinated all strength and speed testing, and the Huskies' sideline management operation, playing a key role in UConn's first 10-win football campaign and an NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearance in the fall of 1998.
Golden earned his first collegiate full-time position in 1996 and spent nearly two seasons as head strength and conditioning coach at Central Connecticut State, where he played an integral role in the design and inventory purchases for the Blue Devils' new weight room facility.
A 1992 graduate of Central Connecticut State, Golden earned a bachelor's degree in physical education. Upon graduation, he spent seven months as an intern at Harvard during the 1992-93 academic year, working as head strength coach for the institution's rugby squad, which advanced to the Final Four, while also working with the Crimson's football and ice hockey programs.
He gained additional experience as an assistant at the National Football League Scouting Combines in 1995, ‘96 and ‘97, and as a training camp intern for the Cleveland Browns in 1996.
Golden has also put together an extensive background of international competition, serving as an assistant coach for the five-time World Powerlifting Champion USA Men's Team at venues in Birmingham, England (1992); Jonkoping, Sweden (1993); Johannesburg, South Africa (1994); Pori, Finland (1995) and Salzburg, Austria (1996). He has also published articles in two international strength magazines - Powerlifting USA and Ironman Japan.
Golden is a certified member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA), United States Weightlifting Federation (USWA) and National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).
Golden is married to the former Nicole Kitsos of Cheshire, Conn. The couple has four daughters (Natasha, Tatiana, Sophia, Anastasia) and a son (Magnus).