DAPHNE, Ala. – Former college football player, current high school football coach and United States Sports Academy alumnus Dr. Michael Armstrong was recently honored as the Strength Coach of the Year in South Carolina.
Armstrong is the assistant athletic director, head strength coach and offensive line coach at Lugoff-Elgin High School (LEHS) in Lugoff, S.C. He earned his Doctor of Education degree in sports management from the Academy in 2012. Armstrong earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education at the University of South Carolina (USC), where earned varsity football letters in 1987 and 1988. He also earned his master’s degree in education from USC.
He recently was named the South Carolina Strength Coach of the Year by the state’s Athletic Coaches Association and High School Strength Coaches Association. He became eligible for the award after winning the same honor in the state’s 4A division.
“I feel humbled and honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Armstrong said. “I am blessed to receive a reward for doing something I am truly passionate about.
“I have found that my doctorate from the Academy has been extremely helpful in my duties and responsibilities as an assistant athletic director,” Armstrong said. “The required curriculum included sports-related finance, law, management, research, psychology and current trends, and that has been extremely beneficial to me in facilitating my required duties.
“As far as earning a degree from an institution that focuses on sports, I have found that one who has hailed from an athletic background can find a harmonious connection and marriage from an institution as unique as the Academy. Specialization and common interests provide an intrinsically motivating environment for the learner.”
He said the Academy’s online learning options suited his needs as a working father supporting five children.
“I found that the distance education format was ideal for my situation,” Armstrong said. “I am a full-time coach who is extremely busy and at the time of my enrollment I had five children in the house. The Academy faculty members were extremely open and helpful. I felt they were genuinely interested and committed to seeing the students excel.”
Armstrong is responsible for the design and implementation of all strength, speed and agility programs for male and female athletes at the high school. His interest in strength and conditioning began after he suffered a career-ending knee injury as a football player at USC.
“It was at this time of rehab that I fell in love with strength and conditioning,” Armstrong said. “Our head strength coach, Keith Kephart, became my mentor and I knew this was the career path I would eventually choose.”
Under Amstrong’s leadership, 33 student athletes at LEHS met or exceeded the state weightlifting qualifying minimum in spring 2017. Of the 20 weight classes in competition at this year’s Region 15 meet, 15 winners came from LEHS.
“I love to watch the athletes improve, grow and excel on a daily basis,” he said. “Winning awards and being given honors is not what I consider a great accomplishment. Having the opportunity to serve others and make an impact on someone’s life is the greatest accomplishment. I would rather hear how I impacted someone’s life than receive a plaque.”
This latest honor is not Armstrong’s first. In 2003, he was named the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year, one of many accolades throughout his career.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.