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Junior Francesco Ruffini isn’t a typical college athlete. In fact, he’s gotten a jump-start on his coaching career during his time at OC.

Francesco, an exercise science and sports psychology student, has an ultimate goal to become a strength and conditioning coach at a college or university in a Power Five conference. Thanks to the support and encouragement from professors and coaches at Olivet, Francesco is confident he’s already on his way to reaching that goal.

“The professors in my major are very supportive and they’ve helped develop my career goals,” Francesco said. “Nick Juday, associate professor and chair of health and human performance (HHP), is a great supporter of mine. He’s helped me connect with internships and stayed late to talk about things beyond my class work. He’s also pushed me to be more outgoing and put me on the spot to get comfortable speaking in front of large groups.”

Francesco’s relationships have spread beyond the classroom, and he’s also well connected with the Comet wrestling team, despite not being a member of the team himself. Seeing the team’s need for a strength and conditioning coach, Francesco gladly accepted the challenge.

“I work with the team during preseason and offseason, as well as during their competition schedule,” Francesco explained. “I plan workouts, coach athletes, perform reviews with coaches, attend practices and set goals for the team. During preseason, my goal is to raise endurance, while during the competition season I’m focused on maintaining that endurance and injury prevention. During offseason, we work at the highest intensity to increase muscle mass and strength.”

Francesco added that his investment of the team makes him one of its biggest fans. He hopes all the hard work turns into big wins with few injuries, but regardless of the outcome, Francesco values the relationships he’s built and the experience he’s gained along the way.

“Being able to put my skills into action is helping me build this confidence,” he said. “I feel like I can really compete in the job market, and I know I can accomplish big things if I set my mind to it. I know I also have strong backing from faculty and students. Being able to go out there and get these jobs is huge for me.”

In addition to his experience with the wrestling team, Francesco is also thankful for opportunities to develop his leadership skills as vice president of Phi Epsilon Kappa (PEK), an honor society for HHP students, and the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI).

“I’m able to get involved in the community and learn to work with all ages of people through PEK. Recently we hosted a fun run for students at the Olivet elementary school,” Francesco said. “PLI has also been a good experience. I’ve learned about the qualities good leaders possess and how leadership must be personal, and this ties directly into my coaching philosophy.”

Next up, Francesco is preparing for graduate programs and professional strength and conditioning certifications. He’s focusing on networking, performing research and simply gaining more knowledge.

“My future is bright,” Francesco concluded.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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