Making a mark in the field of sport physiology and performance

Published 4:10 pm Monday, January 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

JOHNSON CITY — The Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education (CESSCE) at East Tennessee State University has achieved quite a bit of success lately in its numerous research, educational and service endeavors.
The Center, part of the Clemmer College at ETSU, aims to conduct and share cutting-edge research, provide service to various sports teams both at ETSU and beyond, and to increase the professional preparation of coaches.
It is heavily integrated with the master’s program in sport science and coach education and doctoral program in sport physiology and sport performance offered through the Department of Sport, Exercise, Recreation and Kinesiology (SERK). Graduates of these programs now work for professional sports teams, as well as the athletic and academic areas of such universities as Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Auburn, Emory & Henry and more.
The evidence-based research conducted at the Center focuses on the development of strength, power and endurance, as well as fatigue management, injury prevention and rehabilitation, according to Director Meg Stone. CESSCE faculty, alumni and students have compiled a substantial publication record based on this research, regularly submitting articles to some of the most influential journals in the field, including the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and others.
SERK Lab Director Dr. Mike Stone recently coauthored a new textbook with four alumni — Timothy Suchomel, Guy Hornsby, John Wagle and Aaron Cunanan — titled “Strength and Conditioning in Sports: From Science to Practice” and published in July 2022 by Routledge. Mike Stone is graduate program coordinator of the sport science degrees, program coordinator of sport physiology and performance, and lab director.
In the fall of 2022, the Center, hosted its annual Coaches College, which brings experts in various aspects of strength and endurance to speak. The conference not only provides the latest information for working professionals in the field, but also benefits students in the ETSU master’s and doctoral programs.
“The Coaches College really gives our students the opportunity to see who’s in the field and link up with them,” Meg Stone said. “Many of the students are preparing to write their dissertations, and this gives them an opportunity to interact with professionals who could possibly be on their committees.”
Planning is underway for the 2023 Coaches College. which will be held Nov. 3-4.
The Center works with several ETSU intercollegiate athletics teams in everything from developing and implementing training plans in cooperation with the coaching staffs to monitoring the athletes’ progress.
It is also extensively involved with the powerlifting and weightlifting club teams at the university. A group of athletes from ETSU competed in the USA Weightlifting North American Open Finals in Atlanta in December, with several athletes producing personal bests and finishing in the top five. ETSU’s powerlifting team won a meet in South Carolina in November — a qualifying meet for the national championships – with eight members qualifying for nationals, which will be held April 13-16 in Arlington, Texas. ETSU also hosted the 2022 Tennessee/Kentucky State Weightlifting Championships on campus in October.
In addition to working with athletes at ETSU, the CESSCE’s reach extends to other schools, with Center staff collaborating with teams at nearby Milligan University and conducting a long-term athletic development program in weightlifting at Johnson City’s Science Hill High School. Students from the CESSCE gain internship experience with teams both near and far, ranging from West Ridge High School in Sullivan County to the women’s basketball team at the University of Connecticut. Students from other schools come to ETSU for internships, as well.
The Center’s “pracademics” approach gives a valuable boost to students.
“You’re in class at one point during the day, learning about sport physiology,” Meg Stone said, “and then you’re with your team applying what you learned in the classroom. This really helps our students, giving them the knowledge and background work they need to go out into the field. Our students are gaining high-performance jobs in major sporting organizations, such as the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Browns.”
As CESSCE staff look to the future, they envision the possibility of establishing a sport science institute, which would greatly enhance research efforts in the field. As funding allows, they would like to gain new, state-of-the-art facilities to accomplish this goal in addition to growing the Center’s educational and service footprint.
“We’re established, we’ve been here 17 years, we’ve got people out in the field doing great things, we’ve got something to show now,” Meg Stone said. “Now is the time to start to raise the funds so we can really get going on expanding our research.”
For more information, visit the CESSCE at or contact Meg Stone at or (423) 439-8476.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox