When Buster Skrine ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds earlier this summer, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore cornerback credited Scott Brincks for helping make it happen.
Brincks, the UTC strength and conditioning coach, designed a workout program that helped Skrine put on more than 15 pounds of muscle in the past year and lower his 40 time nearly two-tenths of a second.
“He’s really helped me a lot on my quickness, my speed, my strength — everything, really,” Skrine said.
Staff Photo by Dan Henry -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's football strength coach Scott Brincks speaks to players during Monday's practice at Scrappy Moore Field.
Such praise doesn’t come often for strength coaches, unsung heroes in collegiate athletics. Unlike team coaches who have a NCAA-mandated limited amount of time with their athletes, strength coaches are involved on just about a daily basis.
Their work is essentially done behind the scenes, and they really earn their money in the offseason, when players in all sports participate in voluntary workouts.
“My overall passion has always been for the athlete,” Brincks said. “It’s always been, ‘How do I train an athlete to get them better and help them out?’ And strength and conditioning is the only way that you can be with them basically 24/7 and not get in trouble for it (with the NCAA).”
Brincks is in his seventh year at UTC after spending three years at Kentucky, where he was the football team’s assistant strength coach. He played football and baseball at Iowa Wesleyan and went into coaching at his alma mater after graduating in 1993. He was the linebackers coach in 1994 before becoming the head baseball coach. Brincks returned to the football staff in 1998 as defensive coordinator.
At Iowa Wesleyan he also helped coach other sports and said that experience working with so many different types of athletes has helped him in his strength and conditioning focus.
“Each sport needs its own little tweaks here and there,” he said.
Along with the pleasure he gets from working with athletes and seeing them develop, Brincks said there’s another reason he no longer coaches football: “I didn’t like recruiting.”
“I love recruiting on campus and I’ll talk to anybody, but when I have to go away from my family, that’s when enough’s enough,” said Brincks, who has two children with his wife, Karen.
This summer Brincks has spent most of each work day with UTC’s football players, putting them through a rigorous regimen that includes both lifting weights and running. Faced with the challenge of pushing the athletes close to their limits five days a week, Brincks sometimes has to play both good cop and bad cop, balancing positive reinforcement with tough love.
“You try to break them down a little bit to build them back up,” he said.
His performance makes a lasting impression on freshmen, senior offensive lineman William Giles said.
“When you first come in, you don’t know if this guy is cool or if he’s mean or somebody you can joke around with,” Giles said.
That is exactly what football coach Rodney Allison wants, because that’s the same treatment the players get during practice.
“Brincks is kind of my alter-ego. He’s kind of my extension,” Allison said. “He just balances me really well.
“When I first got here (in 2003), I was a tyrant and he had to be less of a tyrant. Now the roles have somewhat changed because of what we’ve done over the years.
“The bottom line is, I trust him and he does a very good job.”
With the construction of the Brenda Lawson Student-Athlete Success Center, which will feature a much-improved strength and conditioning facility, Brincks said he’ll be able to do even more to help UTC athletes train and improve.
“The one thing I’ve always said about this one (at McKenzie Arena) is that it’s very old school, almost dungeon-like. You can get some great training out of it, but nowadays if you don’t train for speed, then you’re at a loss,” he said. “So right now we can’t do much speed work in here. ... We’ll also be able to accomplish a lot more from a power-lifting aspect in the new facility.”
The new center’s size also will allow Brincks and assistant Matt Green to work with more than one team at a time, something they don’t have room for in the McKenzie weight room.
The Lawson Center is scheduled to open later this year.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...