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A Small World

Posted on December 5, 2008 at 10:01 am

By AllStarsPlus

Yesterday I traveled to Virginia Beach to do some memorabilia work with Ryan Zimmerman which I will have to write about later as there is bigger news as the Nationals made one of their most important signings yesterday. John Philbin was signed as the Nats’ strength and conditioning coach and Elizabeth Wheeler as physical therapist.

Its amazing when this type of talent is only a few miles away. John emailed me that it is “A Small World” and in our case it is also intertwined with Jim Riggleman so it really is a small world. John Philbin is a graduate of Perry High School near Rockville and grew up miles apart from Jim and they both went on to College at Frostburg in western Maryland. John Philbin went to Grad school at the University of Maryland where he and I met up almost 30 years ago in the Terps North Gym where he mentored me as an 18 year old student-athlete.

See, the great thing for the Nationals is John doesn’t just teach this stuff, he lives it. He is in better physical shape than most pro athletes 1/2 his age (25 years old).

John’s resume’ includes his own accomplishments in Track & Field as a top Decathalon, strength coach with the Washington Redskins, Olympics head coach and Director of sports science and conditioning for the U.S. bobsled team, and Director of strength and conditioning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Not included on his resume’ is the many athletes that travel to his Philbin headquarters off of Shady Grove Road in Gaithersburg to train or rehab and most that follow his personal instruction, leave better. In 2006, I was Coaching an elite travel baseball team of 13 year olds. We enlisted John to help with speed & agility training. It was amazing watching John teach fast kids how to get faster! Also impressive was John’s emphasis on agility and stretching and warm-ups.

As we know, the Nationals circa 2008 had a lot of muscle injuries so this has to be an area of emphasis with John’s group to avoid these types of injuries.

John said to me, “The [Nationals staff] are very nice and are genuine. The facilities are simply awesome and the stadium is incredible. I am so looking forward to working with the entire staff and especially the players …. It is my home town and I have been to a lot of games over the past few years and look forward to being a part of a winning franchise next year. I am sure it will take some work but I get the feeling that everyone is committed to winning and that starts in the club house and especially upper management. 2009 is going to be a great year … see ya around the park!”

….but John just shared with me his greatest joy which is his family and getting the opportunity to Coach his own son in 85pound football where his 8 year old son plays RB and LB and will be competing this Saturday for the Maryland State Crown, but unfortunately for John, he will not be on the sidelines for the game as he will be in Las Vegas for the Winter Meetings with his new employer, the Washington Nationals!

Photo from John's website
{Photo from John’s website}

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