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  • Writer's pictureRon McKeefery

IGCT Episode #267: Bill Gillespie "There Is A Purpose"


Bill Gillespie returned to the Liberty University campus during the winter of 2005 and serves the athletic department as the director of the strength and conditioning program, including the oversight of the weightlifting and conditioning efforts for the football program. He was promoted to his current position as Assistant AD for Strength and Conditioning in the Summer of 2018.

Gillespie has more than 20 years of experience in collegiate strength and conditioning and two years of experience at the professional level after serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks from 2003 until just prior to his return to Liberty.

During his time in staff, Gillespie has been part of a program that has won eight Big South titles (2007-10, 2012-14, 2016) and saw the program make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.

Gillespie got his coaching start at the collegiate level here at Liberty. He served as assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1983-91, while also serving the university as assistant track and field coach in 1983-85 and 1987-91 and head track and field coach in 1986.

After leaving Liberty in 1991, Gillespie spent 11 years as a member of the strength and conditioning staff at Washington. Gillespie joined the staff as assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1991 and was promoted to Director of Strength and Conditioning in 1999.

Gillespie helped the football program make nine bowl appearances during his tenure, including three-consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl. The Huskies earned a 34-14 victory over Michigan on January 1, 1991, to cap off an undefeated 12-0 season and earn a number two national ranking in the polls.

Gillespie was named Pac-10 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2001, while finishing as a finalist for National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2001. Before joining the Seattle Seahawks' strength and conditioning staff, Gillespie served as the defensive line and strength coach at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash., in 2002.

Gillespie is a world-renowned weightlifter, as he is a 62-time world record holder in the bench press after a lift of 804.5 lbs. at the WABDL World Cup Bench Press and Deadlift Championships in April of 2009. He is also a 23-time world champion in the bench press.

Gillespie, a member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) Master Strength and Conditioning Coach program, received his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Liberty in 1983. Gillespie and former associate strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams gave Liberty the first pair of CSCCA Master Strength Coaches at the same institution at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

While at Liberty, Gillespie was a four-time All-American and a two-time small college national champion in the shot put and a two-year letterwinner on the football team. Gillespie is the former school record in the shot put with an outdoor mark of 55' 8 ½", a mark which stood for 24 years. He was also Liberty's 1983 recipient of the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera award, given annual to Liberty's top graduating student-athlete.

The native of Tacoma, Wash., and his wife, Anita, have two children – Cameron, who is a former member of the football team, and Rachel. Gillespie and Cameron are the strongest father/son combo in the bench press of all-time in the world.


In This Episode We Discuss:

  • What experience in his journey impacted him the most, and Why.

  • Biggest mistake he has made and how he learned from it.

  • All things Bench Press.

  • Staying strong In-season.

  • Best piece of coaching advice he has ever received.

  • His favorite quote, Book/App/Website recommendation.

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