Ryan Cotton begins his third year at Cumberland University serving as Director of Strength and Conditioning and Sports Performance. He oversees the design and implementation of weight training, speed, agility and conditioning programs for all 17 of Cumberland’s men’s and women’s varsity athletics teams.
The East Aurora, N.Y., native played safety at the University of Buffalo for head coach Turner Gill from 2007-10. In 2008, he helped the Bulls capture the Mid-American Conference Championship and an appearance in the International Bowl.
Prior to Cumberland, Cotton spent a year-and-a-half serving a professional internship as a strength coach with the Buffalo Bills. There he worked one-on-one with players on dynamic warm-ups, weight training, conditioning and proper nutrition. He was responsible for training players on proper stretching, muscle activation and myofascial release techniques to improve muscle quality.
Cotton spent the summer of 2011 as an intern strength coach at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga., working primarily with the Yellow Jackets football team. He collaborated with Tech’s Athletics Sports Performance team to coach athletes on sport-specific weight-lifting movements designed to increase strength, power, speed and endurance. He was responsible for leading small groups of athletes through dynamic warm-ups and speed/agility/conditioning drills.
Cotton began his career at his alma mater with an internship in Athletics Sports Performance at the University of Buffalo in Amherst, N.Y. He assisted the head strength coach in creating and implementing strength and conditioning programs for improving athletic performance. Cotton helped facilitate the instruction of weight training, sport-specific drills and rehabilitation exercise for football, track and field, baseball, softball and wrestling.
He also worked as a personal trainer at the Buffalo Athletic Club, designing training programs to custom-fit individual goals, abilities and restrictions while improving health and body composition.
Cotton earned his bachelor’s in Exercise Science in May 2011 from the University of Buffalo. He received his master’s in Sport and Exercise Pedagogy with a specialization in Strength and Human Performance from Cumberland University in May 2014.
A member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Cotton is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). He is also a USAW member where he holds the certification of USAW Level One Sports Performance Coach. Additionally, Cotton currently serves as an instructor for the World Instructor Training School (W.I.T.S.) personal trainer certification course.