Southwest Missouri State University (SMS) was founded in 1905 in Springfield, the "Queen City of the Ozarks." It is within easy driving distance of Kansas City, St. Louis, Tulsa, Little Rock and also only 45 minutes away from Branson, a hotbed of country music.
The almost 18,000 SMS students come from 48 of 50 states and 54 foreign countries. They enjoy an ideal climate in an area of many lakes and streams with a great variety of recreational activities.
SMS is one of the five schools in Missouri with Division I status. All 10 of their sports compete at this level except football which plays at the NCAA Division I-AA level and in the Gateway Football Conference. Since moving to NCAA Division I status in 1982, SMS men and women's teams have collected more than 45 conference championships. They have made 20 NCAA Division I Championship appearances in baseball, men and women's basketball, men's golf, softball and volleyball. The football team has also earned two Division I-AA playoff berths. The SMS men's basketball team has had five NCAA appearances and three NIT berths in the last 11 years, while the Lady Bear Basketballers have played in the NCAA Tournament the last six seasons, reaching the Final Four in 1992. In 1996 the softball team claimed their first Missouri Valley Conference title.
All SMS teams are involved in an extensive Speed/Strength Conditioning program headed by Kenny Coggins. The following contains statements from Coach Coggins and the individual sport coaches and players:
"Our speed, strength and conditioning program is based on free weights. During our testing for our football team, we test on the Bench Press, Incline Press, Power Clean, Back Squat, Body Fat, Weight, Vertical Jump, 40-Yard Dash and Lateral Line Touch.
Our Men's Basketball Team will test on the Bench Press, Back Squat, Power Clean and Jerk from Rack (Jerk Press).
I have seen overall strength improvement especially in the Squat and Clean for all of our sports at SMS. Improving our speed is very critical to our teams. Our athletes do some type of plyometric movement for speed and running; parachutes for conditioning; and warm up relaxations four times a week. Our athletes at SMS have seen that speed, strength and conditioning are very important to our success. We want our guys to be bigger, faster and stronger. All of our athletes at SMS have a positive attitude toward our speed, strength and conditioning program and want to take it to the next level.
A special thanks to Coach Miller (Football) and Coach Alford (Basketball) and the rest of our coaches for their support of our speed, strength and conditioning program.
At SMS we are on the cutting edge in speed, strength and conditioning. We lift, we condition and we jump. We are taking it to the next level in speed, strength and conditioning. We are planning, developing, implementing and managing lifting exercises and drills in jumping, conditioning, throwing and reaction speed. We are improving our team speed, strength and rising to a new athletic sports level.
Our football team went from 4-7 to 7-4 in one year. We really had a good and hard off season, winter and summer conditioning program. Before we got here, the most kids that we had for the summer program were 37. This past summer we had 62! We have to continue to keep working hard. Our program is heading in the right direction. We believe in hard work, discipline and in never giving up. We have a positive attitude! Our kids have made the commitment to our off-season program through discipline and hard work.
If you are progressive in your thinking and in your training, then you have seen what can be done with athletes who want to travel faster. We want to improve at SMS. We lift and we have mixed running, sprinting and jumping with the use of the speed chute, strength shoes and speed hurdles. Our athletes are taking it to the next level."
--Ken Coggins, SMS, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
SMS Team and Coach Comment's
"The speed strength and conditioning program that our Football, Basketball, Soccer & Baseball teams are committed to allow us to compete and be successful at the highest Division I level. Our players realize it is impossible to stay competitive without such a program."
--Steve Alford, Head Mens Basketball Coach and
John Leamy, SMS Soccer Coach
"Under Coach Coggins direction we have seen much progress in our baseball players' speed, strength and conditioning. As far as our position players are concerned, the medicine ball works for strength and flexibility and the parachutes for speed training have been very beneficial."
--Keith Guttin, Head Baseball Coach, SMS
"To excel in college athletics today it is very important that you set goals for yourself. I set many goals for myself to achieve before I ever step one foot onto the playing field. Probably the most important goal I set for myself is to get myself into the best playing condition possible. For me it all starts in the weight room, with our speed/strength and conditioning program. I feel we have one of the best programs in the state, if not in the country. Personally, I feel that if I didn't have the programs to challenge me I wouldn't be where I am today. Not only has the program made me stronger and faster but it has allowed me to stay in the lineup throughout the duration of the year. It is a long season, but the program has conditioned my body to be able to withstand the hard knocks of college baseball. I think our speed/strength and conditioning program has made me a better athlete and a better person. It makes you a better person through life."
--Chris Curly, SMS Basebell, Junior Infielder
"Coach Coggins' speed-strength and conditioning program has helped me in endurance, strength and has given me more explosive power. Coach Coggins has helped the basketball program become more physical and much more explosive."
--Ben Kandlbinder, Junior Guard
"The conditioning program has helped me in two ways. First, it has given me the fitness level and strength needed to perform my best. Second and most importantly, it gave me increased confidence in myself. Being a soccer goalkeeper, the medicine ball throws really helped my arm and hand strength. I found myself catching and holding balls that I would have parried out of bounds in the past. The box jumps really increased my vertical jumping ability and also helped polish the footwork I need before diving to make a save. I found that the biggest thing I gained from speed, strength and conditioning was the increase in my self image. Being stronger and faster, I found that I had a new level of confidence. This confidence is especially important for a goalkeeper, because the rest of the team can feed off of a goalkeepers' play and intensity."
--Brad Barnes, SMS Soccer, Senior Goaltender
"Strength training is one of the most important factors for our style of play and is essential for building a program. In order for our program to compete on a national level our strength and conditioning program is an essential ingredient. Our strength and conditioning program has pushed our players to maximize their strength levels but has also increased vertical jumps and explosiveness in power and athleticism. Our style of play, especially defensively, and the strength and conditioning program are synonymous. The strength and conditioning program has prepared our players extremely well to reach their potential as athletes."
--Cheryl Burnett, SMS Women's Basketball Coach
"We want to train in the most efficient way possible and still maintain a low rate of injury in the weight room. We have made tremendous gains that have transferred to the football field. I am most interested in making a better football player. One that is bigger, faster and more powerful."
--Dell Miller, SMS Head Football Coach
SMS Football went from 4-7 in 1995 to 7-4 in 1996. One of the losses was a 20-23 OT defeat by Division I Oklahoma State. The other three losses came by a combined loss margin total of only 13 points.