At Murray State University in early 1983, Lee McCormick tried out for the football team as a walk-on football player and ended his playing career two years later as the school’s all-time leading receiver. McCormick, who now works with football players as well as several other sports at the University of Texas as a strength coach, learned a lot from that experience. “It was a lot of hard work being a walk-on because I had to prove myself,” McCormick said. “I was new to the system but I adjusted pretty fast.” In fact, McCormick adjusted so well that he earned both All-American and All-Ohio Valley Conference honors during his senior year and he has since been inducted into the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame. At the time of his induction, in 1996, McCormick held the career record for receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,837) at his alma mater.
Following graduation in 1986, McCormick played Arena Football for a few years, attended several NFL camps but finally realized he wasn’t going to have an NFL career. So, for several years he worked in various aspects of the insurance industry and then, in 2002, decided to return to his first love and become a strength and conditioning coach. He was hired as an assistant at The University of Texas that year and worked with football, basketball, softball and baseball over the next four years. While in Austin, he also worked some with boxers and an AAU basketball team that led to an invitation to join the Spurs organization in San Antonio in 2006. There McCormick worked with both the Spurs and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Silver Stars, before deciding to take another college job as an assistant at New Mexico Highlands University. However, McCormick was there hardly more than a year when he was invited to be the head strength coach at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. For McCormick, who grew up in Indiana, it was a true homecoming and he reports that he thoroughly enjoyed his time working with the ISU Sycamores.
In 2008, however, McCormick received a phone call from Jeff Madden that changed his career once again. Madden invited McCormick to return and rejoin the staff at Texas. Said McCormick of the move back to Texas, ““I want to thank ISU for the opportunity to work as a Division I strength coach and head up my own program. I will always be thankful for that opportunity.” However, he told reporters, the chance to return to Texas was just “a great professional opportunity for me. To be asked back to help with...their strength program was something that I could not turn down.”
Since returning to Texas, McCormick has assisted with football and track and additionally forged an unusually rewarding coaching relationship with Olympic diver Troy Dumais, who graduated from UT in 2006, but he still spends a portion of every year in Austin where he trains with McCormick and diving coach Matt Scoggins. Dumais, a four-time Olympian, was the subject of a pre-Olympic TV feature about his training with McCormick prior to the Games. Dumais is the only American diver other than Greg Louganis to make four Olympic teams, and in London he finally won a bronze medal in synchronized diving. To see McCormick and Dumais talk about training click here.