By John Jackson, Staff Writer
Long before many college students wake up to go to classes on a regular day, three men start their day in a pursuit to help Manhattan College student-athletes become the best they can be. These men are the three first-year strength and conditioning coaches.
Mike Olave happens to be one of these three. He was hired by Manhattan College this school year to be the college’s assistant strength and conditioning coach. Olave comes back to the school he graduated from in 2014 with a degree in exercise science.
Olave came into Manhattan as a Physical Education Major. About halfway through his time at Manhattan he switched to exercise science. He wanted to become a basketball coach at first, but after talking with Dr. Jeffrey Cherubini, Department Chair of Kinesiology, he decided to pursue strength and conditioning.
“And then after having a talk with Cherubini of how just maybe moving to a performance aspect of it,” said Olave. “Then [I] kinda just figured this is where I want to be.”
While his interest in becoming a strength and conditioning coach formed later in his life, his interest in physical fitness was always present.
“Growing up I was always very active,” said Olave. “I played all types of sports, I did all types of activities, I was always outside. I did everything from skateboarding, to rollerblading, basketball, football, baseball…I just always had a knack for just being active and just doing physical work all the time.”
Olave needed 120 practicum hours before starting his career. He completed those at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. After he finished his hours he interned at both Manhattanville and the United States Military Academy. Manhattanville then offered him a Graduate Assistant position which he took and stayed in for a year.
His passion for strength and conditioning really began during his time at Manhattanville College. It’s a passion he now brings everyday he comes to work at Manhattan College.
“It’s something I really love and that I’m really passionate about,” said Olave about his job.
Chris Reyes, a senior on the Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, approves of the work done by Olave.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” said Reyes. “He’s phenomenal in the weight room. Throughout the year I had him he’s been amazing. He’s always motivating student-athletes that are willing to push themselves.”
Reyes’ favorite workouts with Olave include good mornings and inverted rows. The workouts help strengthen his back which in turn helps him move through the water more smoothly.
For Olave, a big part of his job is being a good role model for the student-athletes.
“I’m a big believer in practicing what you preach,” said Olave. “So for me the biggest thing is, I never ask my athletes to do something that I can’t do. As a strength coach, I think the athletes realize the hours we put in ‘cause I wake up at 4:30 every morning and I’m usually here in the office until about 9:00 at night.”
It does seem like that work ethic is realized by the student-athletes as Reyes considers Olave the best strength and conditioning coach he’s had at Manhattan.
“I mean he’s probably the best strength and conditioning coach I’ve had here at Manhattan College,” said Olave.