United States Sports Academy alumnus Torre Becton is using his Academy education to climb to high levels in the college football coaching world. Becton – who earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports studies in 2014 – was recently hired as the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of California Berkeley football team.
A native of Kinston, N.C., Becton played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education/fitness and wellness management from North Carolina A&T State in 2000. He is certified through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association and is also Strength & Conditioning Coach and Functional Movement Systems Level 1 certified.
“Attaining my master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy was essentially the ‘cherry on top’ for my career,” Becton said. “The master’s degree – along with my certifications, experience and undergraduate degree – ensured that every possible box was checked. It topped off the suit of professional armor that I had created for myself.
“Continuing my education at an institution that focuses on sport specifically presented a unique opportunity. The classes are obviously geared towards and specific for our field, and the professionalism and expertise from the professors were top notch.
“I am truly thrilled to have been able to complete my master’s through a distance learning program,” he said. “It was invaluable primarily because I was already well into my career. I began studying with the Academy while coaching at Iowa State and was able to continue through stops with the Houston Texans, South Carolina State University and the University of Washington, where I completed it. My courses followed me throughout my career and I was able to complete my master’s while I continued to advance in my coaching career.”
Becton spent the previous six years on the strength and conditioning staffs of west coast college football teams, with stops at the University of Southern California (2016) and the University of Washington (2011-15). He also spent time as the director of speed, strength and development at South Carolina State in 2010 and has made career stops on the strength and conditioning staffs of the National Football League’s Houston Texans, as well as Iowa State University, Baylor University and Oklahoma State University.
While working as the associate head strength and conditioning coach at USC in 2016, Becton helped the Trojans reach a final No. 3 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll. When he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Washington, Becton worked under head coaches Steve Sarkisian and Chris Petersen, playing a significant role in returning the Husky football program to national prominence.
“Working at Washington and Southern Cal were the final two elements that assisted in prepping me for a major college head strength and conditioning position,” he said. “Both stops on the west coast gave me the opportunity to build west coast coaching connections as well as offer a glimpse inside the Pac-12 Conference. Being out west has brought my coaching experience full circle, beginning in the south in North Carolina and moving through the midwest and Big XII Conference.
“Being hired at Cal has been an amazing experience so far,” Becton said. “Being a head strength and conditioning coach at a Power Five institution and Top 50 program has been a dream finally come true.”
“Torre is an organized and detailed professional with a strategic plan that will help our football student-athletes reach their full potential,” Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox told the Bear Insider website.
“Certainly, the success he has had in developing tremendous football student-athletes at both Washington and USC over the past six years stands out, but even more impressive to me is the way in which he has done it. Torre has an innovative, smart and detailed plan that not only motivates student-athletes to be their best but does so efficiently. I had the pleasure of working directly with Torre when we were at Washington together and was extremely impressed.”
Becton said the best thing about his job is when his former athletes return after having success in their careers post college.
“When kids come back, call or email and let me know the impact that I made on them not from just an athletic standpoint, but from a life perspective, it is the greatest thing I could ever do,” Becton said. “I’m living my greatest accomplishment. Every position that I take and every experience that I am afforded is greater than I could imagine.”