UNC Asheville’s student-athletes are stronger than they’ve ever been. And a lot of the credit goes to a former Bulldog student-athlete.
Asheville native Omar Ahmad was a member of the UNC Asheville Track and Field team from 2004-08. He was a long and triple jumper for the Bulldogs and majored in Health & Wellness. Today, Omar is the athletic department’s strength and conditioning coach.
Omar enjoyed a standout high school athletic career at Roberson. He was planning to walk on outside the area when former Bulldog assistant track coach Brad DeWeese called him.
“I wasn’t sure where I was going to go to school but was planning to go somewhere out of town,” explained Ahmad. “When Coach DeWeese called with a scholarship offer, it was an easy decision to stay at home and go to school at UNC Asheville.
“I really enjoyed coming here (UNC Asheville),” added Ahmad. “I got a great education and had a nice track and field career.”
With his Health and Wellness degree in hand, Omar knew he wanted to stay in athletics, preferably in the field of strength training. While looking for a graduate school, he stayed in the state system at UNC Pembroke.
“I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. and if I could get some experience in strength training that would really be great,” stated Ahmad. “Luckily, UNC Pembroke has a position and it worked out great.”
Omar was there for two years and earned a graduate degree but more importantly got great experience working with the Braves' sports teams. He worked for Daniel Roose. who is now the strength and conditioning coordinator for VCU’s successful men’s basketball team.
“I learned a lot while I was at Pembroke,” declared Ahmad. “The coaches were really good to work with and it was a great experience.
“Brad DeWeese (UNC Asheville’s former strength and conditioning director) taught me a lot that we use every day,” explained Ahmad. “Daniel Roose taught me a lot, as well. There are all sorts of ways to get stronger, and the more options you have the better your student-athletes will do.”
When DeWeese left four years ago to take a job with the United States Olympic Committee, Omar had a chance to come back to Asheville.
“I was fortunate that things worked out for me to come back to UNC Asheville and replace Brad,” said Ahmad. “It was an easy decision to come home and work with our student-athletes.”
Working with Asheville’s student-athletes is a real joy for Omar. He enjoys seeing them get stronger and becoming better players.
“The biggest thing I want for our student-athletes is to see them fully prepared physically for their season. I want them in the best shape possible and able to withstand the rigors of their respective seasons from start to finish,” explained Ahmad. “If we have an athlete coming off an injury, then we want to work with their rehabilitation and get them as healthy and strong as possible.
“My long-term goal for all of our student-athletes is to get them to reach their full athletic potential,” added Ahmad. “I want all of them by their senior year to have no regrets.”
Omar believes Bulldog student-athletes have come a long way in their strength and conditioning since he first came to UNC Asheville back in the fall of 2004.
“It’s night and day,” said Ahmad. “Thanks to Janet Cone’s great leadership and the trust that coaches have given me in working with their student-athletes, I believe we have really seen an amazing transformation in strength and conditioning.
“I really appreciate the student-athletes for their work ethic and believing in what we’re trying to do to make them better,” added Ahmad.