It has been said that “good things come to those wait.”
That rings especially true for Richard Shaughnessy, director of the strength and conditioning program.
Shaughnessy came to Troy University in 1996 as a restricted earnings coach, taking a $30,000-per-year pay cut in order to pursue his vision for Troy University Athletics’ strength and conditioning program. On July 31, he was inducted into the Wiregrass Hall of Fame.
“At the time, I got to build the strength program,” he said in an interview with the Tropolitan.
“They said, ‘Hey, we don’t have any money to give you, we don’t have very good equipment, but if you want it, go for it.’ Now you look. We got a 10,000-square-foot room. There’s over a million dollars of equipment.
“It’s been fun to see where it’s gone. Sometimes I can’t believe where it’s at because I know where we started. I feel really blessed to be able to see it come to where it’s at.”
While he initially came to handle football, his role quickly grew to encompass all sports. As evidence of Shaughnessy’s dedication to the program and building it from the bottom up, he never had to turn in a resume.
“I was able to get the job based on what I could do and what people recommended me to do,” Shaughnessy said. “So that’s been awesome.”
He said he typically spends at least 12 hours per day teaching classes and talking to players, among other duties.
“The weight room teaches a lot of things,” he said.
“It teaches you discipline, for one thing. All kids need discipline. Life is that way, too, you know. You got to do things when you don’t want to. You got to push through pain.
“You got to have perseverance. You know you got to understand that it’s not easy. You got to work for it.
“And you know, there’s been guys that are playing in the NFL because of this room. Because they came in an inch too short, or a second too slow, or they didn’t weigh enough.
“(Strength and conditioning) builds good players into great players and great players into champions. … I can tell you story after story of guys that nobody else really looked at and we did that are now making millions of dollars. I’m just glad that I was able to play a role in any of it. It’s been pretty neat.”
As for his expectations for Troy University Athletics this year, Shaughnessy said he was looking forward to the changes occurring in women’s athletics.
“I’m really excited about where women’s athletics is going,” he said.
“I’ve been so engulfed in football for so many years. Now I’m director, and I’m able to really look a little bit.
“Women’s athletics is not for fun anymore. It’s not because we got football and now we got to have soccer. Everybody’s got to win. Everybody’s got to be good.
“I mean, there was more people that viewed college softball this year than they did the World Series for men’s baseball. So I mean it’s just changed so much.
“You know the World Cup soccer has changed things. The WNBA has changed things. They can play beyond here now if they want to.”
While many new participants in the Troy athletics program see room for improvement, Shaughnessy believes they may be taking for granted what they currently have.
“People want more, but we have so much more than we did when we started,” he said. “It’s changed drastically. And what strength and conditioning means to a program has changed drastically. … Strength and conditioning is not just something that you got to have. It’s part of you being successful.”