Pitt players and coaches alike readily credit Buddy Morris' strength and conditioning program as a vital factor in the Panthers' consecutive trips to the postseason.
Game-changing strength and conditioning levels are what Dave Wannstedt envisioned when he lured Morris back to Pitt to oversee the Panthers' physical development in December 2006. His arrival infused the Pitt weight room with a new sense of purpose and dedication, resulting in elevated performance on the field. Not coincidentally, Pitt has won eight games over the last three seasons with fourth-quarter comebacks, including its 19-17 victory over North Carolina in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl. "We want to be getting stronger as the game goes on," Morris says. "We train and prepare so that when the fourth quarter comes and the game is on the line, we're ready to respond."
Pitt's weight room, dubbed the "Pitt Iron Works" by Morris, was recently honored by Muscle & Fitness magazine as one of the "top 10 toughest gyms in the United States."
Pitt Iron Works "is home to a college strength and conditioning program unlike any other," writes Muscle & Fitness. "Nobody does it like Pitt," says Elite Fitness Systems owner Dave Tate. "I deal with just about every program in the country, and what they're doing there is unique. From what I've seen, Iron Works is the primary reason for Pitt's turnaround, and the work they're doing will keep them among college football's best for years to come."
Morris owns an accomplished history of training elite players at both the collegiate and NFL levels. The 1980 Pitt graduate previously served as the football team's strength and conditioning coach from 1980-89 and 1997-2001.
"Buddy Morris has trained some of the greatest names in college and professional football," Wannstedt said. "He knows what it takes to make a football player -- and a football team -- reach his highest potential in strength training and physical conditioning."
His workout regimens are highly regarded and include a focus on strength training, speed development, conditioning, agility training and flexibility. Morris' take on football strength and conditioning was featured in a 2009 issue of Sporting News.
Morris rejoined Pitt after serving at the University of Buffalo in 2006 as its director of sports performance and was directly responsible for training the Bulls' football team. Prior to Buffalo, he was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2002-05, serving under head coach Butch Davis.
In his prior Pitt training stints, Morris' pupils included such legendary figures as Jim Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Grimm, Dan Marino and Mark Stepnoski among others. He additionally trained latter-day Pitt stars Ruben Brown and Curtis Martin, two of the NFL's most accomplished players over the past decade.
A former Pitt student-athlete himself, Morris was a four-year letterman in track and field for the Panthers from 1977-80.
Hometown: South Park, Pa.
Alma Mater: Pittsburgh, '80
Family: Morris is married to the former Monica Rose Duncan. Hehas two daughters, Kara (22) and Claire (17), and two stepsons, Fred (22) and Troy (14).
Years/Position: 1980-89, 1997-2001, 2007-present, strength and conditioning coach.
Years/Position: 2006-07, director of sports performance.
Years/Position: 2002-05, strength and conditioning coach.
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