Durand leaves, former assistant fills in

Chronicle Staff

Strength and conditioning coach Mike Durand resigned this summer to join his wife who has been working at the University of Washington for the past year. Durand said that his commitment to the school and the athletic program enticed him to stay at Harvard-Westlake another year after his wife moved.

“He is a man of few words,” Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said. “He is more of a haiku than an epic poem.”

“He transformed a culture,” Barzdukas said. “He designed the weight room and the program. Alex Stepheson ’06 just set a record at North Carolina for basketball weightlifting because Mike taught him impeccable technique. I wish Coach Durand well.”

Barzdukas is attempting to expand the Athletic Department by introducing strength and conditioning at the Middle School, getting more teams and students to take advantage of the program, incorporating sports medicine with strength and conditioning and ensuring that the missions of PE and Athletics complement each other by teaching life skills such as teamwork, commitment and hard work. The Athletic Department now looks to interim strength and conditioning coach Greg Bishop to help fulfill these goals.

“Philosophically, coach Bishop is similar to coach Durand,” Barzdukas said. “He is a technician and a stickler for great technique.”

Bishop recently completed his second summer at Harvard-Westlake. Bishop received his bachelors from California State University, Northridge in Exercise Medicine and is getting his masters in Sports Psychology from Southern Connecticut State.

Before grad school, Bishop interned at Athletes Performance, a training group that worked to prepare the German National Team for the World Cup.

Bishop’s goals for the strength and conditioning program differ very little from the overall goals of the athletic department; to prepare athletes for their given sports by decreasing injuries during the season and keeping players healthy.

While Bishop teaches the same basic principles of weight lifting to every team, he specializes on the specific needs of each particular team to better prepare them and increase performance. Bishop attempts to get players to progress from generalized movement to specialized technique.

Bishop appreciates the eagerness of his players to learn and their willingness to try new things. His classes are teaching oriented and the receptiveness of the players is a source of encouragement for the entire athletic department.

“He [Bishop] has a wry sense of humor and cares deeply about every team and student at Harvard-Westlake,” Barzdukas said.