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AFM Magazine

Powerful Performance

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A record-setting 12-1 season. The first top-ten final AP ranking since 1995, tying their highest ever. A stunning 24-21 victory against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Multiple Coach of the Year honors for Head Coach Mark Mangino. The only one-loss team in the top ten. By any measure, the 2007-08 season was a monumental success for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. For Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Dawson, the Jayhawks’ success on the field was the payoff for the long hours and hard work in the weight room. Dawson is now entering his sixth year at Kansas after stints at Minnesota and Oklahoma, where he was a linebacker for the Sooners from 1992-94. AFM asked Coach Dawson about the Jayhawks’ season, his strength training philosophy and Kansas’ choice of Power Lift equipment for the university’s new strength and conditioning facility.

AFM: What did the Jayhawks’ great season in 2007 mean to you and your staff personally?
To be a part of the best football team that has ever taken the field at Kansas was extremely rewarding and humbling for me and my staff. Witnessing the progress that has been made in six years culminating in a 12-1 season was truly remarkable. We could not have asked for anything more than to see this group of young men come together, sacrifice all year and be rewarded with an Orange Bowl win.

At KU, what are your keys to a successful strength and conditioning program?
The most important key to a successful strength and conditioning program at any level is the support of the Head Coach. Coach Mark Mangino has given us unwavering support, and is as responsible as anyone for the physical development of our players.

In addition, consistency, intensity and patience are the three most important factors in our program.

CONSISTENCY: When it is time to work, we work no matter the surrounding circumstances.

INTENSITY: Being mentally “dialed-in”. Showing up for workouts with the right mindset is key.

PATIENCE: Understanding that our players’ and team’s development, both mental and physical, is a process and will not happen overnight.

I understand that you’ve ordered new Power Lift equipment for your new facility. What will be the biggest difference between your old equipment and the new?
Power Lift played an integral part in our current weight room which is one of the finest in the country and is only five years old. However, we are currently building a new facility for which Power Lift is supplying all of our equipment needs. The biggest difference between the new equipment that we are ordering and the equipment we currently have is the customization that we have asked of Power Lift. They are customizing our racks for us. We have decided to use Infinity flooring on the platform inlay in the rack instead of the traditional wood. In addition, each rack will have an adjustable cable pulley, a pull-up bar, as well as a dip station, all on the back side of the rack to allow for them to be assisted or resisted. The standard pull-up bar on the front of the rack will be a fat bar pull-up bar. These additions should make it more efficient for our athletes as they should rarely have to leave their rack when they are in the weight room – everything is right there at the rack. We are limited on time so this should make an enormous difference.

What were the important factors you considered when you purchased the new equipment?
The determining factor in our decision to go with Power Lift in the new facility was the track record that they had already established with us from the first facility in which we worked with them. Their level of customer service both before and after delivery, durability of equipment, and desire to meet the customer’s needs no matter what is unsurpassed in this market. In addition, they are there to cater to that sense of “urgency” that is so prevalent in athletics.

Did Power Lift assist you in your choice of equipment and layout?
Blair Prince and Jeff Conner have both helped immensely in both our choice of equipment as well as the layout. Due to the fact that we are doing so much equipment customization in our new facility, they have played an enormous role. In addition, they have been more than willing to come to our campus to meet on numerous occasions to ensure that everything is just right.

You’re very familiar with Power Lift equipment. How would you rate it in terms of quality and reliability?
Power Lift makes the finest, most durable equipment in the industry. There is no competition in terms of reliability and quality.

Finally, how would you rate Power Lift in customer service?
Their customer service is the best. They are not only quick to respond to any requests, they also give you lots of necessary feedback, which is an integral part of developing or customizing new equipment. They also did a great job of adjusting layouts and equipment lists in a timely manner as our equipment budget and facility budget changed.

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