The Hillsdale College athletic department welcomed new strength and conditioning coach Mitchell Faine to campus this fall. Faine, an Ohio native, attended the University of Findlay, where he played football for four year and worked as a graduate assistant in the Oilers’ strength and conditioning program.
He will be taking over for Patrick Gifford, who is now working at Florida International University as an associate strength and conditioning coach. Faine will be overseeing all of Hillsdale’s athletic teams, but because there are so many, he won’t work with them all directly.
He will be creating and implementing the workout programs for the football, men’s basketball, baseball, and softball teams, as well as designing the swimming team’s workouts for the swim coaches to conduct with their team. He will also work with the women’s basketball and volleyball teams during their offseasons.
“Right now I’m just focused on meeting everyone and getting acquainted,” Faine said. “I hope to further develop the athletes, not only in strength, but in speed as well, and work to prevent injuries, which can be a key thing for teams.”
Faine arrived to campus in July and spent the month preparing for the arrival of the football and volleyball teams. Once the football players arrived for training camp during the second week of August, Faine had the chance to dive right into working with the team. He worked with the Chargers not only to increase their strength and get them in shape for the season, but also work on the little things to prevent injury.
Junior tight end Martin Petersen said he has enjoyed his experiences with Faine in the first few weeks of the preseason.
“Coach Faine has been awesome to work with so far. You can tell he’s already passionate about Charger athletics,” Peterson said. “He’s a great addition to the department. I’m excited to work with him more this offseason.”
Preventing injuries will be a big priority for Faine; he’s had too many experiences with injury himself. He’s torn his meniscus and ACL, both of which required surgery, and had a cyst removal, all of which has occurred since he began participating in high school athletics.
“Those injuries are what have inspired me to work with athletes and help them compete at their highest levels,” Faine said.
Despite his injuries, Faine still managed to claim a spot on the Second-Team All-Ohio roster as a quarterback in his junior year of high school, which earned him plenty of attention from colleges, including Hillsdale. He said he’s liked the school ever since he first visited while still in high school, but he ultimately chose Findlay to be closer to home, as he is from Ada, Ohio.
During his time at Findlay, Faine was limited to competing in only two games during his junior year due to injuries. But he made the most of his time, as he worked with the athletic department when he couldn’t be playing on the field. He majored in strength and conditioning while earning a coaching minor from the university, and then continued on to earn his master’s degree in education. He also has a degree in personal training.
From there, Faine went on to work at Ohio Northern University for two years, where he built its strength and conditioning program. Even with his success and key role at ONU, Faine said he’s always been drawn to Hillsdale and its athletes, which inspired him to take on a new role here.
“I came to Hillsdale for the opportunity,” Faine said. “I’ve always been interested in not only the talent of the athletes, but also the high standards they’re held to off the field of competition.”
Assistant athletic director and media relations and event manager Brad Monastiere said he thinks Faine has a lot of talents to bring to Hillsdale’s strength and conditioning program.
“I think a strength he has is the right combination of his own ideas and concepts and his willingness to allow the athletes to lead him as well,” Monastiere said. “I think there will be a good partnership with our athletes. He really understands the individuality of athletes’ needs and he has an open mind.”
Monastiere said Faine not only brings great ideas and understanding, but also a unique personality that he thinks will complement with the athletes he works with.
“He seems like a rather soft-spoken guy, but I haven’t seen him in the context of the weight room,” Monastiere said. ”You get the feeling that his actions will speak for him more than from a volume respect, and I think that’s something our athletes will really respect.”