Student athletes don’t just wake up with healthy muscles and keen balance.
They have to work at it consistently, and at Murray State someone has to oversee and encourage it, making sure athletes get proper workouts each and every week.
Enter Darren Edgington, the strength conditioning coach at Roy Stewart Stadium.
While overseeing the daily operations of the Stewart Stadium weight room, Edgington, or “Edge” as he goes by, believes in the healthcare and safety of student athletes, all while creating intensive workouts challenging the players to become physically prepared for the rigors of competition.
Eight Murray State teams train under Edge’s supervision, including football, baseball, softball, cross country, track, rifle, softball and soccer.
“I have to make sure the weight room is equally accessible,” Edgington said. “I try to focus on each team equally.”
As a full-time weight trainer for 17 years, his credentials speak for themselves.
Before his three years at Murray State, Edge spent three years at the University of Mississippi training women’s basketball, football and soccer.
But it all started 11 years ago at Middle Tennessee State University, earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees in wellness/fitness and exercise science and eventually working up to the strength coach position at the school.
“I went to college after I served six years in the Navy,” he said. “When I went back, I just became a gym rat and eventually worked myself up from there.”
Edge also has seven certifications, including Collegiate Strength Coaches Association Certification, Master’s Strength Coach (one of 90 in the U.S.) and three certifications from the U.S. Weightlifting Federation.
While trying to make athletes stronger and faster, Edge said he also wants to keep them healthy and prevent injury by maintaining a safe and liable consciousness about his job.
“I make sure we use safe environment techniques because losing someone in the weight room should not happen,” he said. “Losing them while playing is hard enough.”
Edgington can’t do it by himself, however, and in fact has a few assistants to help him maintain a safe working environment.
Travis Sams, junior music business major from Booneville, Ind., is one of those assistants. He says he feels a sense of accomplishment after helping conduct workouts for the teams.
“Not so much for me, but for Edge himself, I can tell where his work has paid off,” Sams said. “You go to a soccer game and you just see how well they keep up with everyone, and their conditioning is fabulous.”
Sams spends 18 hours a week in the weight room as a federal student worker and is in his second year as an assistant to Edgington. His love of sports pulled him to choose this job over others offered within the financial aid program.
“After breaking both of my ankles, I can’t play anymore,” he said. “I wanted to get back involved somehow and I figured this was my chance to do that.”
Weight lifting is easy to talk about and a passion of Edgington’s and it shows.
“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” he said. “You retire from something you hate.”