TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) – Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced the hiring of David Ballou as the Crimson Tide’s Director of Sports Performance and Dr. Matt Rhea as the Director of Performance Science.
“Just as with any other area, we feel that it is imperative that we adopt and integrate advancements in the field of strength and conditioning that will provide elite training, while better protecting our players from injuries and helping them develop and perform at a higher level,” Saban said. “Our program has been working toward these type of advancements with the development and construction of our own sports science center, and with the addition of David and Matt, we believe our student-athletes will be better equipped to reach their goals for many years to come.”
Ballou and Dr. Rhea are both regarded among the best in their field.
Ballou and Dr. Rhea join Alabama after two years at Indiana where Ballou was the Director of Athletic Performance and Rhea was IU’s Football’s High Performance Coordinator.
Ballou replaces Scott Cochran who left Alabama for an on-the-field coaching position at Alabama.
“The collaboration between strength and conditioning, sports medicine and nutrition are absolutely critical for the success of our program,” Alabama’s Associate AD and Director of Sports Medicine Jeff Allen said. “The addition of Coach Ballou and Dr. Rhea to our program will allow us to take full advantage of our sports science center. The data they will generate on our athletes, through their unique training methods, will allow us to know exactly how to manage our team to ensure we are performing at our best each Saturday and make sure we are doing all we can to prevent injuries.”
Ballou spent the 2017 season as Notre Dame’s co-director of football strength and conditioning after one year as the head strength and conditioning coach at IMG Academy. At IMG, he helped train 26 future NFL Draft picks in 2016 and 2017.
“Player development is my passion” Ballou said. “We can’t wait to get to Tuscaloosa and begin working with some of the best athletes and football players in the nation. We will attack all avenues of performance to make sure we are optimizing the physical abilities of every player on the roster.”
Dr. Rhea was a full-time professor of kinesiology at A.T. Still University, where he taught courses in sports conditioning and exercise physiology. He has published nearly 100 studies in performance enhancement and lectured in seven different countries.
“For the past 22 years, I have been studying how best to develop athletes, prevent injuries and prime for competition,” Rhea said. “Through research, I have found some innovative ways to target neuromuscular issues that are limiting performance and, by teaming up with one of best strength and conditioning coaches in the world, we can target those limiting factors during training.