New Strength and Conditioning Coach Dakota Moran Makes Us Stronger in Mind, Body, and Spirit

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Coming into the new school year, there is a multitude of questions about how athletics may return in full force to the Casady community, but one thing that is for sure is that the strength and conditioning program will be better than ever. Fresh out of the collegiate level, Dakota Moran, Casady’s new strength coach, knows exactly what he wants from our student-athletes and how he is going to get it. 

Moran did not come to Casady for one particular sport like the majority of new hire coaches; instead, he came to revolutionize how all of our athletes compete and train daily. For Moran, it is not all about winning trophies or titles but becoming stronger across the board. He does not just focus on how a student throws a ball or lifts a weight or runs a sprint, but he instead intends to arm them with the skills to live a life that is healthy and full for their soul. One thing that Moran said he loved about Casady is that we educate the mind, body, and spirit. He claimed that ties in perfectly with being a strength coach, as there is a unique opportunity to not just “prepare athletes to be great athletes, but to prepare student-athletes to be great humans.” Whether that be on the court, field, or in the classroom, Moran believes that “developing a standard and a culture that is set as soon as the student-athlete walks in Bennet is essential [so that they know] there is something that is expected of them, or that they are going to be held to higher standards. And that’s what we try to push on the athletes.”

As we sat on the bleachers outside of the weight room, Moran pondered what word he could use to sum up his approach to coaching, and in the blink of an eye it came to him: “consistency.” Moran said how “being consistent in our standard and what we expect from our student-athletes is important. It allows them to know exactly what is being asked of them every day when they come in […] it’s all about he expects this, this, and this from me, nothing less. [With consistency] everyone understands that they can do things and they can accomplish a lot of great things in the room but it’s just going through it the right way.” A smile appeared at the corner of his mouth while Moran detailed his “uplifting [and] hard but out of love” approach to every aspect of athletics and how he truly connects with his athletes, making them not only stronger physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. 

He understands that there is a multitude of things out of control when it comes to athletics but he emphasizes “your attitude, focus, and effort, the things you can control.” As an excited grin swept across his face, Moran sat up in his chair to explain the acronym he had actually developed for this idea of “controlling the controllable.” Practically jumping out of his seat he detailed the “H.A.R.D theory: honestly, accountability, respect, and discipline, but that’s not just in sports everything you do, you do it HARD.” Fortunately for all of us athletes, these skills do not only apply to weight training or a specific sport, but instead to life. Moran leaned in and pounded his hand and his words as he said how “every day you wake up you have a choice on how you approach this day. Either you win it and go 1 and 0, or you say no I feel bad about myself, or that test is too hard, or the weights are too heavy, but instead, it is no–we have a choice every day. I just try to instill that mindset” and encourage the athletes in all aspects of their life. 

Unlike many coaches or teachers who have the ability to develop their philosophies on teaching as they go along, Moran is forced instead to hit the ground running. From his first day at Casady in Power Camp this summer, Coach Mo had students “change the weight room around, establish a set of standards and guidelines, like [Casady] crest up to have respect for what we are representing, Casady School.” Like consistency and discipline, Moran believes that respect is a core pillar of solid training. While it is obvious that all sports require respect for the coach, other players, and the game itself, Moran makes sure that our athletes show their respect for the institution whose name they wear on their backs. He believes that by showing respect for where they come from and keeping themselves and each other accountable on how they show that respect daily–for instance, a clean weight room–athletes will be dedicated to maintaining a mutual level of respect amongst their peers for whatever person, place, or thing they are representing.

With preseason coming to a close, it is time to hit the ground running in actual competition, and Moran is excited to “get out of the dungeon and watch all of the students perform on the field and shine.” As a coach, he is “pumped for this season and most importantly to see the kids smile and succeed as that confidence lifts” whether that be a new record set in the weight room, or a fantastic grade on a test. Although we may not know what exactly athletics can look like at Casady this coming fall, our students are prepared and ready to crush anyone who stands in their way. Make sure you come out and support our Cyclones because this season will not be one to miss!