Tech bolsters Olympic strength and conditioning staff with new additions

BLACKSBURG – Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced Wednesday that Brian Neal has accepted a leadership position with Virginia Tech Athletics as senior director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports. Babcock also confirmed that Ron Dickson has joined Tech as director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports. Both Neal and Dickson are anticipated to begin their assignments in June.

Babcock further solidified Tech’s commitment to its Olympic sports programs with the addition of these two proven performance coaches. In addition, he praised the work of Dr. Allison Randall, who has been promoted to associate director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports, while Brandon Dillard will continue his work as assistant director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports.

“Brian and Ron bring a wealth of experience to Blacksburg,” Babcock said. “Combined with talented individuals already on our team, we’re extremely confident that they will provide yet another competitive advantage for our Olympic sport student-athletes. We are also excited to promote Dr. Allison Randall, who competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and who joined our staff as a graduate assistant in 2014. I know our coaching staffs are excited about the direction of our performance staff, who will maximize all the facilities and resources at our disposal at Virginia Tech.”

Neal joins the Hokies after spending the past seven years at Mississippi State (2011-17). He was promoted to head of Olympic sports strength and conditioning in January 2016. He originally joined the Bulldogs in February 2011 and played a pivotal role with the nationally prominent MSU baseball squad that won four NCAA regional championships, claimed the 2012 Southeastern Conference tournament title and was the runner-up in the 2013 College World Series.

Owning strong ties to the region, the Forest, Virginia native worked as a strength and conditioning intern at Virginia Tech in 2013 and held a similar position at North Carolina in 2014.

“I’m thrilled to be returning home to Virginia,” Neal said. “I always hoped the opportunity might arise to return to Virginia Tech. I’ve admired from afar the talented collection of coaches and student-athletes that have been attracted to live and work in Blacksburg. I’m excited to join them and can’t wait to get started.”

Prior to his time in Starkville, Neal spent four years as a graduate assistant with Sam Houston State, where he worked with baseball, football, track, golf, women’s soccer and women’s basketball. He is a certified member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

A former student-athlete himself, Neal played linebacker at Bridgewater College, where he double majored in exercise science and allied health sciences.

Dickson joins the Hokies following a successful five-year stint at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During his tenure with the Mocs, he oversaw performance training for men’s golf, wrestling, soccer, cross country and track & field, as well as assisting with football.

A 2009 graduate of West Georgia in 2009, Dickson earned his master’s degree in kinesiology and health from Georgia State in 2011. The Hiram, Georgia native spent 2012-13 season as the interim director of strength and conditioning at Wofford. Before working with the Terriers, Dickson served as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for Merrimack College in Boston. He began his career as a graduate assistant at Emory University in Atlanta.

Randall competed for Jamaica in the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London after winning a bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean Championships. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Morgan State and later added a master’s degree in health, human performance and recreation from Pittsburg State before receiving a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in instructional design and technology. Randall previously served as a volunteer assistant coach for Tech’s track and field program before working as a graduate assistant for Olympic sports strength and conditioning for the Hokies.

Dillard has served as a full-time member of the Virginia Tech strength and conditioning staff since 2012 after interning with the Hokies in 2010-11. The Martinsville, Virginia native prepped at Bassett High School and walked onto Tech’s football team in 2005. He played in 13 games for Frank Beamer’s squad in 2007 before an Achilles injury cost him the entire 2008 campaign. However, he would return to letter for the Hokies in 2009.

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