The idea of developing a team of professionals in the three areas listed above was conceived in the mid 1990’s by then Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Gentry. “I recognized that as the strength and conditioning coach, I was often called upon to be the de facto sports nutritionist and sport psychologist,” Gentry said. “The very nature of training to improve athletic performance lends itself to interest in making healthy dietary choices and nutritional strategies, as well as goal setting, positive imagery, accountability and motivational opportunities. I realized that due to the importance of the components of sports nutrition and sport psychology that we needed professionals in these areas interacting with our athletes. In 2002 we were able to first put in place full time directors in both areas. This combined, holistic approach in 2002 made Virginia Tech one of the first universities to offer this level of athletic support.
“Currently, we are fortunate to have Jennie Zabinsky, RD, and Dr. Gary Bennett, PhD, directing our sports nutrition and sport psychology programs respectively,” Gentry said. “Under Ms. Zabinsky’s and Dr. Bennett’s direction, along with the continued growth of the strength and conditioning program, the Virginia Tech Athletics Department can offer each athlete an excellent chance to successfully realize their individual athletic potential.”