Longtime Northfield High School strength and conditioning coach Scott Sahli will take over as Burnsville High School’s strength and conditioning coordinator at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
Sahli, who led NHS to its seventh consecutive Olympics-style weightlifting state championship this year and was named the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Coach of the Year in February, will be tasked with organizing strength training programs for Burnsville’s athletic department as well as setting up an Olympic-Style weightlifting program for the Blaze.
He spent 33 years as a teacher and coach in Northfield.
“In many ways this is bringing us up to speed with what other schools already are doing,” BHS interim athletic director Jeff Marshall said. “But we also get one of the best around to step in.”
Sahli said joining the Blaze was a perfect fit. He lives in Burnsville and his daughter goes to BHS.
“They’re giving me everything I’m asking for, designing a (weight) room, equipment,” Sahli said. “Just a lot of positives—the stars just kind of aligned.”
He said he will also be doing research for two books on high school weight lifting—one of which will be alongside University of Minnesota associate director of conditioning Cal Dietz.
Sahli’s main key to success has been keeping a constant eye on the evolution of strength training. He said he has worked with scientists, olympic team coaches and others that have kept him learning throughout the years.
Northfield athletic director Tom Graupmann said there are three key factors in Sahli’s success over the years: He cares for the kids, has a strong passion for teaching and has built a vast knowledge of strength and conditioning.
“He has a real passion for what he does,” Graupmann said. “It’s almost unparalleled I think by almost anybody. He’s been national coach of the year, and he’s earned that for many reasons.”
One of the biggest testaments to Sahli’s work as a strength and conditioning coordinator is his help with the football program, Graupmann said.
Along with Northfield's head football coach, Bubba Sullivan, Graupmann said Sahli helped Raiders athletes make a significant jump in strength from freshman to sophomore year.
Sullivan has worked with Sahli since 1989. He said Sahli is a great technician when it comes to weight lifting, and his knowledge has helped build his program into a consistent state competitor.
The Raiders have been to the state tournament in 12 of the past 20 years.
“He was instrumental in getting the program going, turning it around and getting it on the successful track,” Sullivan said. “Then keeping it there, which I think has been just as tough. Our kids have really bought into the need to lift weights. His expertise, his motivation, has been tremendous for our kids.”
That is the type of expertise BHS hopes to gain with Sahli on board. The Blaze are tested by a rigorous South Suburban Conference schedule in every sport.
“The biggest thing is having one guy being able to set up a program for every athletic program we have,” Marshall said. “The knowledge and experience he brings will bring our teams to a new level in terms of strength and power.”