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Notre Dame Football

Coming to Notre Dame was “no-brainer” for director of football performance Loren Landow

February 8, 2024

Loren Landow spent 2018-2023 as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Broncos. 

Once he was let go, he returned to the private sector and directed Landow Performance in Centennial, Colorado, which trains thousands of amateur and professional athletes across various sports, per his university bio

Individually, he’s also worked with pro-bowl-caliber NFL players such as David Bakhtiari, Christian McCaffrey, and Austin Ekeler.

He might’ve remained in the private sector for the foreseeable future, but then former Fighting Irish director of football performance Matt Balis stepped away from the program.

Landow’s agent called him and asked if he’d be interested in pursuing the vacancy at Notre Dame. 

“I said, 'It's Notre Dame. How could you not?’” Landow said.

“I've been fortunate to do a lot of great things in my career, but to ultimately be a part of a program that has history and the legacy that Notre Dame does, it was a no-brainer.”

On Dec. 17, head coach Marcus Freeman officially announced that he’d hired Landow, who met all of his requirements for an ideal candidate, including someone who could train a large group while creating an individualized program for each player’s specific needs and goals.

That’s an ability the players say Landow has already demonstrated.

“He’s tailoring the weight program to the position you’re playing,” freshman quarterback CJ Carr said. “So he’s not going to lift the quarterbacks the same as the O-linemen, same as the D-linemen. It’s a lot of position-specific stuff, which I think is really good.”

Landow also takes a science-backed approach toward maximizing player performance, which Freeman and associate athletics director of sports performance John Wagle also embrace.

“At the end of the day, you don't always have a leader in a situation like this that does,” Landow said. “So, sometimes it can be really challenging to [say}, ‘hey, we need to pull back today, or, hey, we need to go today. Here's what the data says.’ 

“So, the good news about the sports science is like coach Freeman and his staff, they know what it looks like. They know what a well-prepared team looks like, technically, tactically and physically.”

Of course, this is still Landow’s first stint directing a college strength and conditioning program, which comes with unique challenges compared to the private sector and the NFL. 

First and foremost, the strength and conditioning coach spends more time with the team during winter and summer than the coaching staff. 

It’ll be up to him to establish and reinforce team culture during those periods. 

“What I do is I listen to coach Freeman, and I try to echo his messages,” Landow said. “I think that's why he and I probably hit it off so well in the interview process because we speak the same language. We have the same expectations. We have the same standards and what our principles are in development. 

“So I think from my standpoint, I look at it as a challenge to be able to be able to walk lockstep my head coach and know that I'm being held accountable to his message and his staff's message.”

He’ll also have to put in extra effort toward teaching and establishing proper lifting fundamentals and techniques due to players' limited weightroom experience since almost the entire roster is in their late teenage years or early 20s. 

For instance, freshman running back Kedren Young may appear physically advanced for an early enrollee at 6-0 and a lean 217 pounds, but there are still plenty of lifts he needs to master. 

The other day, the training staff pointed out that he wasn’t getting his hips up high enough on power cleans, limiting his explosion. 

“Every day, you learn something new, which is what it's all about,” Young said. “You learn, you get better. So, shoutout to coach Landow again. He’s teaching us a lot, and you can tell he’s really passionate about his job.”

It helps that he has the personality to command the attention of a weight room or training facility comprised of 120 student-athletes.

“He is a very personable guy,” freshman offensive lineman Styles Prescod said. “He talks to everybody. He knows everybody by name. So he’s definitely putting in the effort and the work to get to know us. But I mainly say his energy. I love his energy.”

It helps that he also holds all of the standards of a professional, even the 18-year-old early enrollees. 

It’s still early in his tenure, but he’s impressed with the entire roster’s ability to live up to such a standard.

“It's as-advertised here. These kids are hard-working,” Landow said. “They're great kids, and they're smart. Anytime a new coach comes in, whether it's a strength coach or a position coach or coordinator, you're going to learn something a little bit different. How well do you adjust to the learning? These kids have been incredible.”

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