news-category: Alumni

Graduates of the Gardner-Webb Master’s in Strength & Conditioning Program Experience Regional and International Success in the Industry

Massimo Borlina on the soccer field
Massimo Borlina, '23, on the soccer field with Miami FC.

Alumni Work for Professional Soccer Clubs and University Athletic Departments

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Recent graduates of the Gardner-Webb University Master of Science in Strength and Conditioning (MSSC) program have secured high-profile jobs in the strength and conditioning industry. Dr. Jonathan M. Ahearn, assistant professor of exercise science and the program coordinator for the MSSC program, highlights some of them and shares their comments about how their studies at GWU prepared them for the job. 

Massimo Borlina

Three students, Massimo Borlina, Caitie Mayo and Lorenzo Bartolini have accepted positions with professional soccer organizations.  

Borlina, a native of Italy, played soccer at Gardner-Webb and graduated in 2023. He is head of performance for the Miami FC. While earning his master’s at GWU, he worked as an intern at Purdue University and Gardner-Webb. Before taking the job in Miami, he was Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning Coach Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, Pa.

“The MS in strength and conditioning program gave me the opportunity to grow from both the professional and personal point of view, through providing me with a hands-on experience into this field,” he noted. “A welcoming environment, qualified professors and updated facilities are what facilitates the development of students joining the program at Gardner-Webb.”

Caitie Mayo

Borlina stated that the GWU program includes a high-level curriculum and several modes of learning such as research papers and presentations, TED talks and practical application. “I was also able to have three internship experiences that helped me to further grow and apply the theorical knowledge in a real-life setting, connecting me with other professionals of the strength and conditioning field, a fundamental aspect for every new graduate’s career.”

Mayo played volleyball at Gardner-Webb and received her degree in 2022. She was a graduate assistant and strength and conditioning intern at Gardner-Webb and worked as an athletic performance coach at Architech Sports and Physical Therapy before accepting her position as a sports performance coach—sports scientist for Charlotte FC Academy. Mayo affirmed, “The professionalism and standard of work quality required for the MSSC program was critical in my success in the competitive field of athletics.”

Lorenzo Bartolini

Bartolini, a May 2024 graduate and native of Italy, is the assistant strength and conditioning coach for FC Sudtirol in Bolzano, Italy. While at Gardner-Webb, he was a summer strength and conditioning intern for Harvard University. He was also an assistant soccer coach and strength and conditioning intern for GWU. Before being offered the staff position by FC Sudtirol, he was an intern with the program.

Other recent graduates are working as strength coaches at the university level. Brady Fields is assistant sports performance coach at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.; Kristen Flateau is assistant director of Speed, Strength & Conditioning at Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C.; and Will Mullins is the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the football team at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Brady Fields

Fields believes that the MSSC program at Gardner Webb helped to set him up for success. “Several internship opportunities as well as countless hours of hands-on learning in courses, labs, and extracurriculars gave me both the confidence and knowledge to pursue my goals in the strength and conditioning field,” he asserted. “From the moment you step foot in your first class you can immediately tell that the professors and staff involved in this program genuinely want you to succeed and are willing to go out of their way each and every day to help you do so. The incredible wealth of knowledge the MSSC professors offer is something that no student should or will take for granted.”

Will Mullins

He summed up his experience, “The courses within this program offer all the knowledge you will need to be successful in a strength and conditioning environment and then some. Plentiful research and publication opportunities give you the knowledge and experience to follow any specific path within the sports performance realm. Individuals looking to set themselves up for success within the sports performance realm should strongly consider enrolling in this program, they will not regret it.”

Mullins agreed, “Through my experiences in the MSSC program at Gardner-Webb, I became thoroughly prepared for a career in collegiate strength and conditioning. Through experiences such as internships and practical courses, I was able to develop career skills, expand my knowledge base, and start a network within the field.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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