Jan. 19, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Indiana - Matt Balis, who has served as the head strength coach at UConn, Mississippi State, Utah and Virginia, has been named the Director of Football Performance at the University of Notre Dame.
"It's an honor and dream come true to be part of the Notre Dame football program," said Balis. "I'm humbled by this opportunity and I'll work hard everyday to give our players and program my absolute best."
"Matt comes to Notre Dame with impeccable credentials and incredibly high praise from the likes of Urban Meyer, Mickey Marotti, Dan Mullen, Bob Diaco and Al Groh," said Irish head coach Brian Kelly. "He's already instituted a strength program built with a foundation that focuses on hard work, discipline and top-notch competition. Matt will demand the best from our players, not only in the weight room, but in many other areas within our program. I couldn't be more excited to have him in place moving forward."
Balis was the strength and conditioning coordinator at UConn for three years (2014-16). He coordinated the strength and conditioning program for all 24 sports teams. He designed and developed all facets of the strength and conditioning program for the Husky football team. Balis created programs including but not limited to explosive power development using triple extension movements, high-effort training sets and metabolic training. He collaborated with coaches and sports medicine staff, nutrition staff and massage therapy staff to give each athlete the best possible training, nutrition and rehabilitation service.
Balis worked alongside former Irish assistant coach and current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen for five seasons (2009-13). He helped the Bulldogs reach four consecutive bowl games -- a feat not previously accomplished in school history. In 2010, Balis was named one of three finalists for the FootballScoop Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year Award.
Balis came to Mississippi State from the University of Virginia, where he served two years as the strength and conditioning coach for the Cavaliers' football program (2007-08). His responsibilities at Virginia included overseeing the football program's strength and conditioning needs, and assessing each individual's physical attributes to improve athletic performance.
Prior to his stint in Charlottesville, Balis served as the assistant director of strength and conditioning at Florida for two years (2005-06). He worked alongside former Notre Dame director of strength and conditioning and then Gators' director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti. Balis was responsible for assisting the director of strength and conditioning with daily operations of the Gators' facility. He also assisted with coordination of the entire strength program, including coaching in the weight room, speed development and conditioning. Florida finished the 2006 season with a 13-1 record, won the Southeastern Conference Championship and the BCS National Championship.
Before joining the staff at Florida, Balis worked two years at Utah (2003-04). He served as an assistant strength coach in 2003. Balis was promoted to the director of strength and conditioning in 2004 by former Irish assistant coach and then Utah head coach Urban Meyer. The Utes finished the 2004 season with an overall record of 12-0 and won the Fiesta Bowl. As director, Balis ultimately oversaw the entire 16-sport program and was directly responsible for the design and implementation of programs for football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and volleyball.
Balis, who also worked as an assistant strength coach at Houston for two years (2001-02), is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCC). Additionally, he is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified strength and conditioning coach.
Balis earned a bachelor's degree in education from Northern Illinois in 1996 and a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from Aurora University in 2001.
Prior to his entry to the college level, Balis, a native of Chicago, was an assistant football coach and worked in the area of strength and conditioning at both Wheaton Warrenville South High School (1996-98) and Wheaton North High School for three years (1998-01). He also taught physical education at the elementary school level during that five-year period.
Balis and his wife, Lanette, have a son Jacob.
Balis replaces Paul Longo who has taken a leave of absence from his role with the Irish football program.
|The Balis File|
|Undergraduate College||Northern Illinois University (B.A., Education, 1996)|
|Graduate College||Aurora University (M.A., Educational Leadership and Administration, 2001)|
|2001-02||Houston Assistant Strength Coach|
|2003||Utah Assistant Strength Coach|
|2004||Utah Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|2005-06||Florida Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|2007-08||Virginia Head Football Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2009-13||Mississippi State Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|2014-16||UConn Strength and Conditioning Coordinator|
|2011||Music City Bowl|
|2015||St. Petersburg Bowl|
Michael Bertsch, director of football media relations at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2006. An Akron, Ohio, native, he graduated from Walsh University (Ohio) in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in communications and also received his master's degree in health and physical education with an emphasis in sports administration from Marshall University in 2001.