If preparation is the key to success, then strength and conditioning coach Micah Kurtz is at the center of A.C. Flora’s athletic success.
Kurtz, in his sixth year with the Falcons, recently was named 2013 Strength Coach of the Year by the S.C. Coaches’ Association. By all accounts, the honor is well-deserved.
“He’s a first-class professional at what he does,” Flora athletics director Charlie Wentzky said.
“Every day, he’s pushing the kids to do things they thought they couldn’t do. It’s one of the major components of our overall success, what he does in the weight room.”
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Kurtz’s services are available to all of the Falcons’ athletes, and Wentzky said the weight room expert has had an impact on every sport at A.C. Flora. About nine sports train with Kurtz in the summer, and he trains at least one athlete from every team.
“I love working with those athletes to make them maximize their potential at the sports they play,” Kurtz said.
“I work with as many athletes and teams as I can fit in,” said Kurtz, who serves as an assistant football coach and head coach of the Iron Falcons, a strength competition team.
“(Wentzy and principal Ron McClure) have done a great job of hiring coaches that understand the importance of strength and conditioning and how it can help their athletes. It’s a great group of coaches that believe in the weight room and believe in what I’m doing,” Kurtz said.
“What makes Micah so good is that his background in sports is universal. He has an understanding of a lot of sports, and so he knows what will make the kids better in that area,” Wentzky said.
For first-year Flora football coach Reggie Shaw, being able to work with Kurtz was a major plus when he joined the Falcons this spring.
“He’s constantly educating himself, doing his homework,” Shaw said. “It’s nice to know that you can trust what’s going on in the weight room.”
He said the Falcons’ opponents have remarked to him that his squad, though unimposing in stature, is deceptively strong. And he said their rate of muscle-related injuries is low, because Kurtz’s training is proactive about injury prevention.
Shaw’s predecessor, Dean Howell, said Kurtz was instrumental to the success the Falcons had during his tenure.
“He was there a year before I got there, and one of the first things people told me was that I needed to get together with him,” Howell said. “I went and watched him work with the kids two or three times and I was sold.”
Kurtz’s sun-up-to-sundown dedication to his job has earned him praise from the Falcons’ coaching staff for years and, Wentzky and Shaw said, made him more than worthy of the statewide award.
“He’s a great choice for that award. I mean, the proof is in the pudding. His handprint is all over our athletics program,” Shaw said.
Kurtz said the Falcons’ athletes and coaches make his job easy.
“I don’t think I would have won that award if the baseball team didn’t win a state title. If the girls soccer team didn’t win a region title. If the football team hadn’t done so well the last few seasons,” Kurtz said.
“So, really, I owe winning this award to the athletes and the coaches. I’m just a small part of the success that these teams have.”
“It’s always great to get an individual honor like that, especially a strength and conditioning coach, because we’re really behind the scenes. Not a lot of people know who I am,” Kurtz said.
Wentzky would beg to differ.
“The secret is out,” he said. “We’ve had to fight off several schools to keep him here.”
But Kurtz, an upstate New York native who came to South Carolina for a graduate assistantship in strength and conditioning with the Gamecocks, said he has found his home.