Joe Connolly was named head strength & conditioning coach for the South Carolina football program on January 20, 2012. He is in his fourth year overall with the program, originally joining the Carolina staff as an assisant strength & conditioning coach under Craig Fitzgerald in January 2009.
Prior to being named to his current position overseeing the football team's strength program, Connolly also worked as the head strength & conditioning coach for the South Carolina men's and women's track & field teams, which featured NCAA champions LaKya Brookins and Johnny Dutch.
Connolly began his professional career at Harvard as an intern in 2007, assisting with all 41 sports at the Ivy League school, including the league's championship football team. He was hired as a full-time assistant strength & conditioning coach at Harvard in 2008 and served as the head strength & conditioning coach for men's volleyball while continuing to assist with the other programs.
Following his stint at Harvard, Connolly served as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of Louisville. He worked with football only, primarly focusing on the skill position players.
Connolly is a 2004 graduate of the University of Hartford, where he earned degrees in criminal justice and sociology. He was a four-year letterwinner in baseball. He was awarded the senior award for great sportsmanship and perseverance.
Connolly also owns a Master of Science degree in physical education with a concentration in strength & conditioning from Bridgewater State College, graduating magna cum laude in 2008.
While attending graduate school, Connolly served as an athletic performance trainer for Sport-Rx. He also worked as the head of strength & conditioning for Team Cape Cod Baseball and served as a teaching assistant at Bridewater State.
Connolly is certified by both the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa) Strength & Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) and the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is also certified through USA Weightlifting as a Club Coach Level 1 and is certified by Power Pilates.
Connolly, who qualified for the collegiate nationals in Olympic Weightlifting, participates in Powerlifting, Strongman and Olympic Weightlifting competitions.
A native of Barnstable, Mass., Connolly's wife's name is Shalona.