Rudy Wade is entering his first season as the strength and conditioning coach with the University of Toledo football team. For seven years, Wade was the strength and conditioning coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay for all 16 sports. A native of Indianapolis, Wade earned his bachelor’s degree from Ball State in 2001 and a master’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 2003. Wade and his wife, Julie, have two children, Connor, 3, and Myla, 1.
What’s your background in sports?
I played everything as a kid. I ended up sticking with wrestling and football in high school. I wasn’t very good in basketball or baseball.
How did you get involved with the field of strength and conditioning?
I just wanted to continue to be around sports, especially football. I always liked lifting weights and training and all that. I’ve been around it since I was a little kid. My dad was a football coach [at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis], and I can remember hanging out in the weight room when I was 5 years old.
What’s it like working again with UT coach Tim Beckman, who was an assistant at BGSU while you were a graduate assistant there?
It’s awesome. I feel like he’s one of the best there is. It’s important to me to win. As far as how much work you put into it as a coach, you don’t want to be somewhere and not win. It makes it feel worthwhile when you’ve got a chance to win, and I think he’s a proven winner. I knew what to expect coming in and was able to hit the ground running because of my familiarity with him.
How did your first offseason of workouts go with the football team?
Awesome. It helps to come in and have such a large senior class. I feel like I’ve got a bunch of other coaches in the room with me. We have guys that are hungry to win, so they’ll put in all the work that it takes because they feel like it’s going to pay off. The guys have done an unbelievable job.
What are your impressions on how far this team can go this fall?
I’m not into making predictions. I just feel good about where we’re at right now. I think the level of physical preparedness we’re at right now is going to give us a chance to have a good camp. That’s really my job. I prepare them for camp and if we have a good camp, I think that gives us a chance to have a good season.
How has the transition been from working with a variety of sports at UW-Green Bay to working only with football at Toledo?
There’s definitely some things you forget about not being with football for a while, but the biggest thing is the mentality of the players. My primary focus has been basketball for the last several years, and there’s pluses with those guys too but I think the culture in football has a lot higher buy-in to strength training and conditioning. Guys are more hard-nosed and their bodies are more conditioned for making strength gains. Plus the mindset of these guys kind of fits my personality better.
What are some things you’ve tried to emphasize in your first year at UT?
I think everything in our program has to center around hard work and accountability. Those are two things every program has to have. There’s also been more of a focus on Olympic lifting than there has been in the past. Then just having an unbelievable amount of enthusiasm in the weight room and really getting them to buy in.
What exactly is Olympic lifting?
Cleans, snatches, push jerks, things of that nature. The guys already benched and squatted. It’s your explosive-type movements with the barbell.
How do you unwind away from work?
You put in so much time and effort that my thing is to just at the end of the day get home and hang out with the family. I just try to get as much time with them when I’m not in here.
Any favorite vacation destinations?
The nice thing about being here is I’m originally from Indianapolis and it was seven hours from Indianapolis to Green Bay and it’s three and a half from here. So I’ve gotten to see my parents and sister more.