After firing almost all of his entire team in early May, Director of Strength and Conditioning Cory Walts revealed the five members of his staff on Tuesday.
The group brings a wide variety of experience to Penn, with two already working with the Red and Blue, another two coming from other colleges, and the final addition coming from a similar position at the high school level.
"I am pleased to announce that we have completed the hiring of a staff which aligns us with the vision for Penn Athletics, Sports Performance, and my vision for Strength and Conditioning," Walts said in a Penn Athletics statement. "Dr. Grace Calhoun, Dr. Andrea Wieland, and Rudy Fuller have made it a priority to ensure that Sports Performance continues to be a center of excellence for the Division by supporting additional staff as well as granting the opportunity to hire a team of outstanding professionals."
Moving into new positions within Penn Athletics are Associate Strength and Conditioning coaches Stephen Brindle and Pat Dolan.
Brindle has been with the Red and Blue since 2010 and was also named Head of Basketball Performance for the Quakers. After working part-time at Penn since 2014, Dolan's promotion means he will now be working full-time on campus.
Initially, Brindle was among those let go by Penn Athletics in the wake of Walts' hiring in April, but he has since been rehired and will return as the only full-time coach from last year's team.
Miguel Rivera joins the team as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Head of Football Performance. Over the past eight years, he has also worked with the football teams at Miami (Fla.) and Stony Brook, and will look to carry that experience to this fall with the Quakers. Rivera represents the first football specific strength coach Penn has had in recent memory.
The second new hire coming from the college level isn't a stranger to the Philadelphia area, as Michelle Pifer will come to University City from nearby Swarthmore. Before her time with the Phoenix, Pifer spent three years in an internship with Penn Strength and Conditioning, making her especially familiar with campus.
Finally, Dr. Jeremy Weeks was named Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning after eight years as Assistant Athletic Director and Director of Athletic Performance at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. He also has experience on the Division I level, having served for two years as Assistant Director of Athletic Performance at Baylor.
"We have increased the number of full-time staff members from four to six and are pleased to welcome three new coaches to Penn while welcoming back two coaches who have demonstrated their commitment to the new vision of Penn Strength and Conditioning," Walts said in the statement. "It has always been my goal to create a team full of outstanding people who learn from each other and collectively move forward on a daily basis. I believe we have done that."
With a new team at his side, Walts feels he has all the pieces he needs to rebuild the strength and conditioning team after wiping the slate clean in May.
Back in January, former head strength coach Jim Steel resigned from Penn Athletics after 20 years. In a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Steel indicated that his resignation was a result of an ongoing dispute with the Penn Athletics administration.
“Exactly what happened is that the Sports Performance administration and I didn't see eye-to-eye on the best way to run the strength and conditioning program," he wrote. “I really love the athletes at Penn and will miss them.”
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.