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National Strength and Conditioning Association Announces 2021 Career Awards

Colorado Springs, CO – The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is proud to announce the winners of the organization’s 2021 Career Awards. Each year, these distinguished awards honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the strength and conditioning community throughout their careers. Each of the award winners will be formally recognized at the NSCA’s National Conference which will be held from July 7-10, 2021 in Orlando, FL.

Awarded since 1993, the Boyd Epley Award for Lifetime Achievement honors individuals who exhibit historical impact, achievements, and dedication to the NSCA over the course of their career. This award is named after Boyd Epley, founder of the NSCA, and is considered the most prestigious award a member of the NSCA can achieve. The Board of Directors is honored to announce the 2021 recipient, Bill Allerheiligen, MS, FNSCA.

Bill Allerheiligen has been a high school, college, and professional strength coach for 35+ years. He has served as a college instructor in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, and program design. During his career, he has been a college strength coach at Nebraska, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Wyoming, and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, a professional coach with the Houston Oilers, and has trained four World Champion boxers. Bill was the 1988 National Strength Coach of the Year. Additionally, he has been an active volunteer at local high schools and non-profits in his community.

Allerheiligen has been a profound and active supporter of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. During the 1970s Bill became one of the founding members of the NSCA and the first state director for Kansas. In the 1980s, Bill served on the NSCA’s Board as the Vice-President of Development and Region III Director, as well as, assisted with the establishment of the CSCS, served on the CSCS Item Writing Committee, and on the Executive Council of the CSCS Agency. During the 1990s, he continued to serve on the Executive Council of the Certification Commission, served as NSCA liaison to the NCAA, as a CEU Committee member, and as State Director Board of Wyoming. From the 2000s to present, Allerheiligen served as President of the NSCA from 2003 – 2006, and since his presidency, continued to be active on several committees including the Fellow Review. Bill is a native of Holdrege, Nebraska and presently lives in Mauldin, South Carolina.

The Alvin Roy Award for Career Achievement, created in 1986, honors Alvin Roy, who helped establish strength and conditioning as the cornerstone of any training program. Roy was one of the first coaches to show that lifting weights would improve both speed and power, and he helped debunk the myth that lifting weights made athletes slower. In his honor, this esteemed award is given to an individual whose career achievements made a substantial impact on the scientific understanding, methodologies, and practice of resistance training as a component of sports conditioning. The Board of Directors is honored to announce the 2021 recipient, Louie Simmons.

Louie Simmons is a world-renowned Strength/Special Strengths coach and the founder of Westside Barbell. Every day he is in the gym, watching and analyzing all athletic training for all his powerlifters, fighters, and track and field athletes. Westside Barbell is a living laboratory for Louie where he can undergo constant athletic experiments to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Simmons has 30 athletes who deadlift over 800 pounds and four who deadlift over 900 pounds. He also has 15 members who have a total lifting record over 2500 pounds and seven over 2600 pounds total. Westside Barbell is the only gym in the world to have two over 2700 pound totals, plus five over 2800 pounds and one who has the biggest total of all time with 3005 pounds. In addition to this, Simmons is one of three people to total elite in five weight classes with two-hour weigh-ins.

Louie has published over 300 training articles, authored 10 books, and produced over 10 highly-respected training videos. Simmons is also the inventor of the Reverse Hyper® machine, Inverse Curl machine, Hip/Quad machine, Static/Dynamic developer, Athletic Training Platform, MR-19 Hamstring recruiter, and the Virtual Force Swing.

He has also been a strength consultant for the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and numerous college football teams. Louie has worked closely with Kent Johnson, Johnny Parker, and Buddy Morris, and a host of other professional and top-level strength coaches. Additionally, he has trained two Olympic gold medal sprinters, Butch Reynolds and Moe Robinson, both 400-meter sprinters.

The NSCA Impact Award, awarded since 1997, is given to an individual whose career has greatly contributed to the advancement of the national or international strength and conditioning, or fitness industries. The 2021 recipient, as selected by the Board of Directors, is G. Gregory Haff, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA.

Dr. G. Gregory Haff is the Professor of Strength and Conditioning at the School of Medical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University. Professor Haff is currently researching ways to optimize the delivery of resistance training interventions as part of a variety of athlete’s periodized training plans. As part of this work, his research team is examining the factors related to close quarter battle and the use of technology to quantify workloads in special forces soldiers. Overall, he is interested in how to better design periodized training plans in order to ensure operational readiness as well as enhance the overall health and wellness of soldiers.

Professor Haff served as the President of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) from 2015-2018. He is the co-editor of the 4th edition of the NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning and is a popular speaker at national and international conferences. He has consulted with the Chinese Olympic Committee (weightlifting/rowing), the English Institute of Sport (Track Cycling/Netball/Weightlifting), and professional sports teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Adelaide Crows, Western Force, Wildcats, West Coast Fever, and several other teams). He currently serves as the Sport Scientist on the Australian Weightlifting High Performance Commission. 

In 2014, Dr. Haff was named the United Kingdom Strength & Conditioning Association: Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year for Education and Research. Additionally, in 2011 he was awarded the NSCA’s William J. Kraemer Sport Scientist of the Year Award for his applied sport science research. Professor Haff is a Level 3 Weightlifting Coach in the United States and Australia. He has served as the Head Coach of the Australian Jr. Men’s and Women’s Oceania Weightlifting Teams and an Assistant Coach with the Australian Sr. Women’s National Weightlifting Team.  He is an Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Level-2 Strength Coach, a United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA).

The President’s Award is awarded to individuals by the NSCA President in special recognition of their contributions to the field of strength and conditioning. In 2021, the award is presented to Jerry Palmieri, MA, CSCS, RSCC*E and Maria Teresa Mendizabal, NSCA-CPT,*D.

New Jersey native and longtime Tom Coughlin assistant, Jerry Palmieri served 12 seasons as the New York Giants’ strength and conditioning coach, a position he assumed on January 13, 2004. He was with the Giants for Tom Coughlin’s entire tenure as head coach, helping secure wins in both the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl Championships.

Palmieri was the New Orleans Saints’ assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2003. Prior to that he spent nine years as a strength and conditioning coach under Coughlin, one at Boston College (where he was the director of strength and conditioning operations), and eight with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Palmieri began his career as a strength coach at the University of North Carolina in 1982. From there he moved to Oklahoma State University (1984-86) and Kansas State University (1987-92) before joining Coughlin at Boston College. In addition to his coaching experience, Palmieri has taught physical education classes and written articles about strength and conditioning for national publications.

Palmieri is a 1980 graduate of Montclair State University. He received a master’s degree in exercise physiology from North Carolina in 1984. Palmieri was a three-time New Jersey Golden Gloves champion (1976-78) and competed in international competitions as a member of the 1978 and 1979 USA Boxing Teams.

He was honored as the 2007 Samson’s NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. In 1999, Palmieri was honored by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society as Coach of the Year, and then in 2018, this organization presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Currently, Palmieri volunteers for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes advancing that ministry in North Jersey. He works closely with the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association to unify and provide professional education for the NFL Strength and Conditioning Coaches. He also speaks on topics of strength & conditioning and his faith, while also conducting workshops on three-dimensional coaching. Palmieri was raised in Dumont, N.J. He and his wife, Ellen, also a New Jersey native, have two children and one grandson.

Maria Teresa Mendizabal was born in Puerto Rico, and for many years was a professional Ballet and Flamenco Dancer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, and years later graduated Magna Cum Laude in Physical Education. During the 1970’s she founded her Dancing and Fitness School. Today, many of her students are dancers and ballet teachers in Puerto Rico and the United States.

In 1975, she introduced aerobics in Puerto Rico, and together with her dearest friend Christine Vega, founded Aerobic Trainings International, a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Trainings Organization. Together they have traveled to South and Central America, Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean, certifying more than 2,000 fitness professionals. During those years, she was invited to present at several conventions and fitness organizations in Europe, South, and Central America, as well as in the United States. In 1995, she was a Gold Medalist in South Africa during the World Aerobic Competition. Maria Teresa had her own Fitness TV program for many years, and had her weekly fitness column in one of the best known newspapers in Puerto Rico. In 2004, she was selected by the NSCA as the Personal Trainer of the Year, and a few years later she was appointed State Director for NSCA in Puerto Rico, and served as State Director for many years.

She holds several certifications including NSCA-CPT,*D, ACSM, TRX, ZUMBA, Pilates, Willpower and Grace, and Ballet Barre. Her spicy styles, her unique choreography, and her never-ending desire to elevate the quality of the fitness profession keep her active in her personal training and group classes.

She has been happily married to Hector Santiago, her beloved husband for 45 years, and together they have six children, and eight grandsons. 

“Congratulations to all the award winners for these well-deserved awards,” said NSCA Executive Director Michael Massik. “Each of these individuals have changed many lives and exemplify what it is to be an NSCA professional. We are proud to have them as part of our community.”

For more information regarding the NSCA and these awards, please visit www.nsca.com.

About the National Strength & Conditioning Association

Founded in 1978, The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is a nonprofit association dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning and related sport science professions around the world.

The NSCA exists to empower a community of professionals to maximize their impact through disseminating evidence-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, networking opportunities, and continuing education. The NSCA community is composed of more than 60,000 members and certified professionals throughout the world who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength and conditioning coaches, performance and sport scientists, personal trainers, tactical professionals, and other related roles.

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