Louisville football: The man behind all of the muscle

Mike Sirignano has one of the most important positions on the Louisville football staff – and it isn’t calling the plays.

by Alex Stengel

When it comes to summer and sports,  typically there are few things I enjoy in the off-season more than watching sportswriters and journalists desperately scrap together whatever ideas, topics, and columns they can until September kickoffs finally save them. But this summer is anything but typical, especially for Louisville football.

Louisville is entering a new chapter – and with it a talented, young, energetic staff looking to rewrite the current narrative associated with the program.

A few months back, I wrote a piece comparing and highlighting last season’s former regime to Satterfield’s current staff (which you can find here).

But I really messed up.

I left out a key role that is just as important, if not more, to a new staff’s success: The Muscle.

With the increasing complexity of NCAA’s off-season schedules, rules, practices, and position coach’s time limitations with players – the Strength and Conditioning coach has become an invaluable piece to every college football program.

These coaches are much more than just sultans of swole – and their responsibilities reflect it.

On top of turning athletes into chiseled freaks of nature (with proper techniques of course), the strength and conditioning coach is also the main driver of the culture of the program.

A culture change Louisville is in desperate need for.

The Strength and Conditioning Coach, or S&C for short, is usually the first one in every morning.

He runs the show – organizing, implementing and executing all team and individual workouts -sometimes with no other coaches around.

He’s the motivator – the engine that drives every guy to hit the last rep and push past their PR’s.

He’s the heartbeat – considering S&C coaches spend the most time around the athletes, they play a vital role in interacting with the players (remember the culture piece I mentioned?).

Satterfield agrees with sentiments, stating in prior comments that the strength coach is “probably one of the more important hires I think you can make on a football team because they’re with the players more than anybody – They’re seeing them every day when they come in the weight room, whether it be either the training — where they’re coming in to heal their bodies, rolling them out, stretching and all that, so that’s going to be very important.”

For Louisville – His name is Mike Sirignano.

Prior to joining Satterfield in 2014 as Appalachian State’s Director of S&C, Sirignano served on the S&C staff at South Carolina, Elon, Rhode Island,  Northeastern, and Bryant.

If you’re not familiar with his name, you have probably already seen him on a few Louisville Football videos – dancing to music, cutting up with the players, and yelling gains into existence in the weight room.

Sirignano embodies the culture Satterfield has preached since stepping on Louisville’s Campus.

Fun, but focused. He, along with the staff, understand that in order to get the absolute most out of every player – you have to have their trust and buy-in.

He also understands what it will take for Louisville to regain its success: pain.

Recently, Sirignano was featured on Sorinex’s podcast series “Be Legendary” – which I highly recommend you give a listen to here. In the discussion, Sirignano explains his philosophy – you have to go through some type of pain in order to achieve success.

This philosophy can be seen by anyone that steps foot in his office, as it’s posted on his wall:

8 inevitable steps of pain for Success

  1. You’ll feel pain
  2. You’ll want to give up prematurely
  3. You will lose relationships
  4. People will discourage you
  5. You’ll be hated for no reason
  6. You will doubt yourself
  7. You will fail
  8. As long as you make it to Eight, you will succeed

What Sirignano preaches goes much deeper than just muscle fibers, and it shows through his immediate connection with the players.