Yesterday when I mentioned Steve Odgers in the blog, several people wanted to know what Steve is doing now. He works for Scott Boras, the baseball agent. Steve is Director of Boras sports training, in that capacity he works with their clients. He is now working with some of the biggest names in the game. I thought some of you might be interested in how Steve and I became associated. I first met Steve in the winter of 1983. Steve was a student at UC Irvine. He was on the track team, competing in the decathlon. Through that year and the next years I watched him train. The more I watched him the more I became impressed with his potential. He did not really have a lot of guidance except in the throws. He used to come out an hour early and stretch for at 30 minutes, yet he was plagued with hamstring injuries. In the late spring of 1984 when he was hurt again I approached him about training with me the next fall. We started working together in the fall of 1984. That first year was a tough one. I probably killed him. The main thing was to get over the hamstring issues, which he did. He marginally improved. That summer he got to compete for the USA against Canada in a team decathlon in Edmonton. He had a tremendous first day and was running well in the hurdles when he fell. It was evident to all that he was ready for a big break through. That breakthrough came the next year at MTSAC Relays where he scored 7992 points. Then his dumb coach upped the workload and he never was quite the same the rest of that spring. He placed fifth at Nationals with a 102 degree fever (overtraining?) The next year he injured his knee in the javelin and had to have the knee scoped. In 1988 he had a good year, certainly not what we expected, but I now realize that the lingering effects of the knee surgery were hindering him. He was ninth at Olympic trials. 1989 was his best year. He was second at the Olympic Festival, sixth ranked in the US and twentyfifth ranked in the world.
I can’t say this about very many athletes that I have coached, but Steve came as close to anyone I have coached to reach his physical potential. He was only 178 pounds, small for a decathlete, yet he was a great thrower, very good 400 meter runner and became a good hurdler. Without size, the decathlon is an even tougher event. In January of 1990, the major League strength and conditioning job with the White Sox opened up and I was able to persuade our General Manager to hire Steve. It was one of the best moves the organization has ever made. That was the first year we had an influx of players from the minor leagues. The players expected to train and Steve was there to work with them I mean actually get down and dirty and run and jump and throw with them. He was still a world class athlete and he could outshine most of them. When I left in 1996 Steve became Director of Conditioning and stayed with the Major League team. It was because of Steve that the White were one of the most injury free teams of the nineties. He left after the 2003 to work for Scott Boras. He is probably the only conditioning coach ever mentioned in a Hall of Fame induction speech. Carlton Fisk thanked Steve for all his work that prolonged his career. He was a big factor in keeping Jack McDowell healthy to win the Cy Young. Steve is one of the best conditioning coaches I know. He is definitely the best in baseball. I am proud to have had a small part in his career.