Smart overhauls Georgia’s strength program

Now-former Georgia strength and conditioning coordinator Mark Hocke was known for his high energy.

Kirby Smart is going in a new direction with Georgia’s strength and conditioning program.

Scott Sinclair, who had led Marshall’s strength and conditioning program since 2013, has been hired to take the same job at Georgia. In addition, the school has also announced the hiring Ed Ellis, who ran the strength program at Central Florida, to be the senior associate director of strength and conditioning.

Although there has been no official announcement about Mark Hocke, this almost certainly means he has not been retained by Smart. Hocke just finished his first season as Georgia’s strength and conditioning coordinator after six years on the strength staff at Alabama.

Scott Sinclair has been Marshall’s S&C coordinator since 2014. (Photo via Sinclair’s Twitter page.)

Meanwhile, the fact Hocke is not being retained – or at least not keeping his job – is an outward surprise considering the fact that he and Smart worked on the same football staff for six years.  But there were signs early.

Smart talked to Scott Cochran, Alabama’s longtime strength and conditioning coordinator, about joining him in Athens. But Alabama gave Cochran a raise and announced his return.

Early in December, after Smart’s hiring and before it was announced Cochran was staying at Alabama, Hocke alluded to his situation on social media.

“It’s in our uncomfortable times that we learn and grow most. The greater the challenge the greater the leader,” Hocke wrote.

It’s also not clear what will happen to other members of Georgia’s strength and conditioning program. That includes associate S&C coordinator John Thomas, who has been at Georgia since 2012, and prior to that was Joe Paterno’s S&C coordinator for two decades. It also includes Kelin Johnson, a former Georgia defensive back.

Sinclair was the associate director of strength and conditioning at UCF for nine years, where according to his Marshall bio he was “directly responsible for the speed and agility programs in addition to the program’s administrative duties.”

There’s an in-state connection for Sinclair: He was on Georgia Tech’s strength and conditioning staff from 2001-03. He was on Wake Forest’s strength staff from 1999-2001, after graduating from Guilford College.

(That means Georgia gains back a Guilford graduate, having lost John Lilly.)

Ellis was at UCF the past 13 seasons, where he ran the strength program, with Sinclair as his associate. (Now it appears Sinclair will be over Ellis.) Ellis was also at Georgia Tech, from 2001-04, and prior to that had stops at Ole Miss, Illinois State and Wake Forest.

Alabama is Ellis’ alma mater, where he got his bathelor’s degree in 1997.

Both Elllis and Sinclair have been certified as a master strength and conditioning coach.

Marshall finished 10-3 this season, knocking off UConn 16-10 in the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Thundering Herd ranked third in rushing offense in Conference USA, and sixth in rushing defense, third in sacks and fifth in least sacks allowed.

 

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