IU football hires Wellman as next strength coach

Indiana will hire Aaron Wellman as its next strength and conditioning coach, a source confirmed Saturday.

Wellman has spent the last four years with the New York Giants. He replaces David Ballou, who was recently hired as Alabama’s strength coach after two seasons with the Hoosiers.

Before heading to the NFL, Wellman was the director of strength and conditioning at Michigan from 2011-14. He was an assistant director of strength and conditioning at Notre Dame in 2015. He also had stops at San Diego State (2009-11) and Ball State (2004-09) during a 20-year career in Division I athletics.

But the most important stop for IU, ultimately, may have been Wellman’s first. He began his career as a graduate assistant at IU from 1996-98. That was followed by three years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Hoosiers, before moving on to Michigan State (2001-03).

Ballou would have been a fullback with the Hoosiers when Wellman was just starting his career on IU’s strength staff.

Wellman is a native of Ligonier, Ind., and an alum of the Manchester football program. He received master’s degrees from IU in applied sport science (1998) and nutrition science (2009).

Wellman’s bio with the Giants credits him with implementing training programs to reduce player injuries, including “movement screenings to evaluate mobility and stability deficits along with subsequent programs to mitigate individual injury risk.” 

“When he arrived in 2016, Wellman significantly changed the Giants’ offseason and in-season training regimens,” the bio states, “and the result has been a substantial decrease in the number of season-ending injuries suffered by Giants players.”

His profile also mentions “athlete-monitoring systems, including GPS and neuromuscular fatigue assessments.”

The loss of Ballou and speed coach Matt Rhea to Alabama was another blow to the Hoosiers in an offseason of change, which included the departures of three assistant coaches. IU coach Tom Allen asked his players to trust him in finding a suitable replacement, and he believed the successes of Ballou and Rhea had raised the profile of the position at IU.

“It’s interesting, it’s been a heavy amount of interest in that position, as you would expect,” Allen said. “I think any time you have a guy that comes in here and does such a great job like Dave Ballou did, it just increases the opportunities for other people to come in here and do the same. You see where he went from (with) that position, and I think that it’s neat because I feel like he’s taken that position for us and just put it to a whole other level.”

It will be Wellman’s job to try and build off of what Ballou accomplished. IU is trying to maintain momentum following an eight-win season, the program’s first in 26 years.

“So that’s why I’ve challenged every new hire to be that way, to take their room, their position, their side of the ball, their responsibility and elevate and build off the success that we’re having,” Allen said. “That’s been the challenge and the charge to our guys.”

9 comments

  1. Just did some research on this guy and his pedigree appears to be very impressive. And I especially like that he is returning to IU, having formerly been a graduate student and Assistant S&C coach for IU. Aside from the NY Giants, he’s been at ND and Michigan.

    Looks like another good hire by TA. And my guess is, unless IU hires another speed coach to replace Rhea, with the sum of what Iu was paying Rhea and Ballou, IU will be able to pay Wellman enough to make it very difficult for other schools to poach him. Should be interesting to see what his salary is.

  2. A great hire by coach Allen and it should help recruiting and buy in by current players. Coach Wellman has a very good pedigree and I like that he is a IU alum. The news the past week about IUFB is very encouraging with James coming back and not coach Wellman coming to IU. I want to see what results he can produce with IUFB players this Spring and Summer heading into the 2020 season.

    Coach Wellman has the connections to bring in a very good staff to the strength, speed, and conditioning program. I bet coach is a bit surprised about the changes in the facilities since he has been at IU. Coach Wellman can point out to players exactly what the NFL is after in their development.

    Coach Allen keeps pulling in very good coaches and I am excited to see how they perform this coming season. How the players respond on the field with the teaching they receive from the coaches and with the experience the players received last season will be fun to see this coming season.

  3. If T.A. stays at IU for the rest of his football career and retires from IU….and has a record above 500 in overall record that =that includes 1 game above 500% in big ten conference, and 1 game above 500% in bowl games. That would be a major feat in coaching.

    1. t,
      I think you pretty succinctly describe the enormously deep rut that is IUFB. I took a look at his resume but is a little difficult to decipher how good a hire this may be. I think other circumstances of the programs he was at may have a greater bearing than how good an S&C coach Wellman may or may not be.

  4. I think Wellman’s hire, as strong as it, says volumes about how much of Ballou and Rhea’s speed/reaction/quickness training programs IUFB has learned and retained. With that knowledge in house the logical next step was to add to S & C someone who can manage training that lowers injuries. Another indication Coach Allen is a clear thinker and very proactive with hiring for future positive results. HOOSIERS!

  5. Dave had the same “lower injury” mantra as Wellman does. Every S&C staff pushes that, so there won’t be a change in that regard.

    Otherwise, Wellman will implement his own system, some of which will be close to what DB was doing. One of the differences he impressed Allen with was how NFL teams do S&C within the constraints of a highly structured and closely regulated off season program. Minimizing injuries has been a by product not only of S&C but also less hitting and more efficient conditioning programs that are designed to put less stress on players, and Allen and the other coaches were really impressed with Wellman’s approach on that.

  6. As time goes on, I’m more impressed with CTA’s connections and command of the job. This guy sounds like an ideal fit. His emphasis on injury reduction at the NFL speaks volumes. Welcome aboard, back to Bloomington, and good luck.

  7. You don’t get hired to be the S&C Coach at Michigan, ND and the New York Giants, and then hold that job through a coaching change unless you know what you’re doing. Not only does TA seem to have very good judgement, but he now has the budget to hire quality coaches. He’ll need more, but I’m not the least bit concerned about Wellman replacing Ballou.

    It all starts with recruiting bigger, faster strong athletes. TA has proven that he can do that. I’m sure his assistant coaches have been challenged to continue improving recruiting. For whatever reason, TA conveys a lot of confidence in his program. And people are buying it up! Now we have to hope they show up…… for home games.

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