Kansas State's strength comes from its conditioning coach

The road to Indianapolis is paved with dramatic snapshots.
By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 27, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY -- With his angry glare and snarling temperament, Coach Frank Martin is the fuming face of Kansas State. But Scott Greenawalt, the team's strength and conditioning coach, is the little-known driving force on the Wildcats' staff.

Greenawalt is an imposing figure with his bald head, broad shoulders and firm handshake. His sinister side in the weight room has already paid dividends in the team's NCAA tournament run.

"You think I scream at them," Martin said of his players, "you should see him."

Kansas State defeated Xavier, 101-96, on Thursday in a double-overtime thriller. The second-seeded Wildcats (29-7) take on fifth-seeded Butler (31-4) on Saturday for the right to represent the West Region in the Final Four.

Now, with less than 48 hours to recover from their draining win on Thursday night, Greenawalt's unseen influence will be crucial to the Wildcats. But he played down his role and characterized his approach as simply a way to prepare the players for Martin's tough practices.

Still, Greenawalt is the program's manic motivator whose military-style drilling is having a positive effect on Kansas State this March.

"That best prepares us to the time of year, which is now, where the games get real hard," Martin said of Greenawalt's workout program. "And you don't give in because you've worked so hard to earn the right."

Greenawalt has worked with Kansas State for the past four seasons. He came to Manhattan, Kan., after spending seven seasons as the strength coach at Cincinnati.

He has mapped out a hellish workout regimen for the Wildcats. In fact, Greenawalt, a four-year starter at linebacker at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, derived some of the drills from the football field.

"I want these guys to have a football mentality," said Greenawalt, who played from 1993 to 1996. "We train that way."

In the offseason, Kansas State's players flip 400-pound tires, push and pull football-blocking sleds, lug 100-pound sandbags and manipulate 50-foot-long ropes to bulk up.

In the preseason, they run enough to make a cross-country team wince.

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