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  • Writer's pictureRon McKeefery

IGCT Episode #328: Boyd Epley “End Of An Era”


Boyd Epley returned to Nebraska in October of 2014 as Assistant Athletic Director for Strength and Conditioning. 

Initially hired by former Athletic Director Bob Devaney to start a strength and conditioning program at Nebraska in 1969.  Nebraska is recognized as the first university to have a paid strength coach and celebrates it’s 50th anniversary of Husker Power August 2019.

Epley served 35 years as NU’s head strength coach for football helping the Huskers win 356 games in 35 years and five national championships. He then moved into an associate athletic director position to oversee the design and construction of the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex and Hawks Championship Center before retiring from NU in 2006.

Epley left Nebraska to serve as director of coaching performance for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) which he founded in Lincoln in 1978 but had moved to Colorado Springs. Epley had served as president and chairman of the board of directors for five years. The group honored Epley with its first National Strength Coach-of-the-Year Award in 1980, and in 1993 he was presented the NSCA’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009 the NSCA Board of Directors changed the name of the award to the Boyd Epley Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Epley is recognized as the most decorated strength coach in history and for his national contribution in strength and conditioning, he was named a 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Boyd was also honored by the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1993 with the Lyell Bremser Merit Award.Epley was named to the U.S. Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame in June 2003. He was also honored on the March 2001 cover of American Football Monthly magazine, which tabbed him as the Godfather of Strength and Conditioning. Lindy’s magazine recognized Epley as one of its Top 100 Most Important College Football Sports Figures of the Century. Epley was one of five Huskers on the top 100 list, joining Hall of Fame coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers and two-time Outland Trophy winner Dave Rimington. In June of 2010, John D. Lukacs of ESPN said “Epley is arguably the single most important individual in the history of strength and conditioning in college athletics.”

Epley served as a team captain of the National Champion track team at Phoenix Junior College and starred as a pole vaulter. He then became the Nebraska pole vault record holder as a junior at Nebraska and was the Huskers first 15-foot indoor vaulter. A back injury as a senior ended his vaulting career but opened the door for him to create the strength coaching profession which now has over 55,000 certified strength & conditioning coaches.

Epley received his associate’s degree from Phoenix JC in 1968, his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from Nebraska and added a master’s degree in education from Nebraska in 1972. Epley is married to the former Jane Lilyhorn of Holdrege, Neb., and they have a son, Jay Robert who is a certified strength coach, and a daughter, Jenna Shea who has a PhD in Nursing Practice and married a certified strength coach, Chase Beideck. The Beideck’s have three sons, Cash, Colt and Crew.


In This Episode We Discuss:

  • What accomplishment is he most proud of.

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

  • What is his opinion of the current state of the union for Strength & Conditioning.

  • What advice does he have for retiring being a strength coach.

  • Advice for young coaches.

  • Best piece of coaching advice he has ever received.

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