Strength and conditioning coach gives athletes a lift

Greg Cox

New head strength and conditioning coach Greg Cox. Picture by Andrew Thomas

Lucian Cascino has lifted his fair share of weights in the past decade. He has competitively and non-competitively trained under numerous coaches and programs, but recalls really making that jump in strength in college.

Cascino, a recent Trinity graduate from the class of 2018, was under the leadership of Norwich’s new strength and conditioning coach Greg Cox. He credits Cox for really helping his training while in college.


“The lifting plans I did were all tailored to be pretty sports specific, and I am a big guy and felt as though there were adjustments made to suit my strength needs,” said Cascino, a 23-year-old former offensive lineman and heavyweight wrestler at Trinity.

Cox comes to Norwich with a long and varied resume in the weight world.

“My history is kind of deep. I started off as a strength and conditioning intern in Fairfield, N.J., at K-Strength Sports Training, while I was getting my undergrad at William Paterson. From there I interned at Quinnipiac. Then I was a graduate assistant at East Stroudsburg North High School while I was getting my Masters at East Stroudsburg University,” said Cox.

“After I got my Masters I got an internship at the University of Wisconsin. Following that I worked for the Chinese Hockey Association in both Massachusetts and Ontario. Later I went on to work in Stamford, Conn. at Prentiss Hockey Performance,” Cox continued.

“Then I was at Sacred Heart University as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. After that I wound up coaching at Trinity College doing more of the same,” Cox laughingly concluded.

Coach Cox hasn’t been at Norwich too long but is happy to be here, having had a “growing interest in the University for a few years.”

“This head strength coach is a job I have been extremely interested in for a few years now, and I’m really excited to be working here,” Cox said.

Cox elaborated that the traditions, the standards, and the location of Norwich University were the key selling points for him. “The way that this campus is conducted with the rules and guidelines and guiding values resonate deeply with me and struck my interest from the moment that I looked into this school,” said Cox.

“I really like the traditions of having a campus that seems to guide itself on just good human nature. Things like ‘I will try’ or ‘I will not lie, cheat or steal,’ just basic good human values and the fact that there is a campus community that founded itself on those things.”

Cox didn’t know what type of student athlete he would get before he got to Norwich.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was hoping it would be the type of kid that emulates the school,” Cox said. “But now that I am here and things are coming to fruition, the image I had of the kids here are on par with the great kids I imagined.”

According to Cox, “There is definitely a Norwich type of person. I have been on a lot of different colleges and campuses and this one is just very different. The campus community is different in all the right ways.”

A strength and conditioning coach’s role is to grow athletes’ physical capabilities. On top of training athletes, Cox has taken on two exercise science majors as interns. “Apart from training athletes, one of my favorite things is training new coaches, I am looking to get more interns to come learn from me,” Cox said.

According to junior linebacker Ryan Shea, Cox excels at the job. “Coach Cox is extremely motivating, and firm in his beliefs. He is adamant in pushing your body past your own perceived limits,” said Shea, a 21-year-old Rockland, Mass., native.

The Norwich football team has been training with Cox since the beginning of this semester and according to Shea, “have already began to see improvements in their strength and motivation as a whole.”

“I remember whenever I would go in for a lift, I would always be excited, knowing that the men running it cared so much about what they were doing. I could visibly see and feel how much Cox cared. He would get in our areas and motivate us mid set of a lift,” said Cascino.

While being an intense presence in the weight room, Cox also likes to stick to the rules and not cut a single corner, whether it is in the minute details of a specific movement, or the rules of the weight room itself.

“I remember when it was like mid-January and this semester hadn’t started yet, I was in the weight room, on shoulder day, and I was playing some pretty loud music on a speaker,” said Satchel Stauffer, a senior criminal justice major from Catasauqua, Penn. “Coach Cox walked in and politely asked me to just use headphones. After that we began talking and this led to him helping me with a plan to get my deadlift up more.”

The plan Cox had referred was a plan he had uses for himself in the past to get his deadlift stronger. It was the Coan/ Phillipi 10-week deadlift program, designed by the legendary powerlifter Ed Coan.

“That program Coach Cox gave me was awesome, I was able to get my deadlift max up to 565 lbs. from the 500 lbs. it was five weeks ago,” Stauffer said.

Cox said his experience can help athletes both develop and understand their exercises.

“I have been lifting for 15 or so years and for that reason alone, could probably answer most questions,” Cox stated.

His job responsibilities are not to accommodate the entire student body, but only to train the athletes of Norwich University.

“I don’t have to help anybody that isn’t an athlete, but I will. I have a lot of knowledge when it comes to training, and no I won’t train them like I do my athletes, but I will absolutely guide them. I’ll give them a program or refer them to something I found success with,” Cox explained.

While Cox’s official role is to train the athletes, he cares about the rest of the students and will offer tips when desired.

“If they want my advice all they have to do is ask. I see a lot of students between Andrews and Plumley, and I am more than willing to chat if asked to,” Cox mentioned. “I am absolutely more of a consultant, than a coach, for the non-athletes.”

As intense as a coach as he may be, Cox also keeps it interesting with each team and athlete he gets to train. “I’ve trained every sport from ice hockey to rowing and everything in between. Each sport has its specific quirks and movements almost specific to the sport or position, so I have to accommodate,” Cox said.

“When I was at Trinity, I trained everybody from the ice hockey team to the men’s rowing team all the way to the national champion men’s squash team. I get enjoyment out of training all those sports, but most of my experience lies within hockey. I never even played hockey a day in my life, I can’t even ice skate,” Cox added.

With Cox’s diverse background in strength and conditioning, he notes it is important he make specific adjustments to the needs of the individual athlete/position.

“He used to make very specific adjustments to my training as both a lineman, and a wrestler when I was one of his athletes,” Cascino said. “At no time was I ever really doing the same movements or rep ranges as a basketball player, or a tennis player.”

While not everything done in the weight room is the same, Cox uses the same format for his programs across the board. He just “makes minor adjustments for the individual. The goals are the same for the most part.”

“The focus lies within injury prevention and preparing my athletes to compete at the highest level they can,” Cox added.

“It is still pretty early to tell, but after having worked out with Coach Cox for a few weeks, I am feeling really healthy,” said Christopher Ryan, a 20-year-old Norwich linebacker, hailing from New Milford, Conn. He said that, along with the new coach, having the new athletes-only weight room in Andrews has been extremely beneficial.

“Having the weight rooms separated from athletes and non-athletes allows me to take care of more athletes, and not have to disrupt the rest of the student population. I can get a lot more people through the weight room more frequently which is great,” said Cox.

Cox has other goals also. “On top of developing and helping student athletes, I want to grow Norwich athletics and the athletic department. As long as the department and athletes themselves keep progressing, I will be happy.”

According to Shea, the football team is already showing improvements in their strength, as well as their physical appearance. He said that “the boys are looking beefy” and have Cox to thank for that.

“My old 1-Rep-Max wasn’t too great. It was like 365 lbs. Now I’m doing that for six reps,” said Ryan. “It has only been like a solid month under him, and we’re getting way stronger than we were.”

Ryan added, “I hope coach Cox stays around for a while. We really benefit from having that consistency in coaching.”

That is Cox’s plan. “I plan on helping move Norwich athletics forward, and I plan on being here a while,” he said.

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