The ‘Cuse Engine A-Team!

One of my favourite things about working on GO/NITRO is we get to tackle a lot of the things that generally tend to not make it (since it’s often easier to create drama out of the obvious and it’s harder to put a “spin” on something.) The problem with that is a lot of extremely important and crucial information gets left out — and that includes the people that make your favourite sports run.

In the NCAA, there’s a whole team of staff who have made it their life’s mission to make sure their athletes can do their absolute best. They travel on the road with them, advise them psychologically when they are homesick or need a helping hand, and work with them one-on-one to make sure they are healthy and feeling good. That means working on a diet that factors in not just what keeps the body going, but also individual preferences as well as allergies. People like different foods, and when you are travelling across the country as an athlete as well as a high performing university student, just because the food is good for you doesn’t mean you feel good. Healthy food also means not feeling like you’re going without. Sure, that boring tomato and lettuce sandwich is technically better for your body, but if you’re feeling lousy, homesick and have to perform on the court, knowing your fans are having a cheeseburger you’d much rather have even though it’s not great for you and you can’t have it is going to have a psychological impact on your performance. So, having healthy food that also tastes good and makes you feel good is important.

The Syracuse Orange team knows what all their team members like — to keep them feeling good.

On February 15th, we had a great time picking the brains of Tommy Powell, Assistant Provost for the Stevenson Educational Center for Student Athlete-Development, Ryan Cabiles, Director of Strength & Conditioning for Syracuse Orange Basketball; and Oliver Junior Haney, Assistant Director for the Stevenson Educational Center or Student Athlete-Development for Syracuse University.

Here’s a little sneak preview:


Ryan Cabiles is the director of strength and conditioning for men’s and women’s basketball. He designs and implements the teams’ year-round athletic performance programs. He is the primary administrator for the Kinduct and Fusionetics athletic management systems. He joined the staff in July 2007 after six years as head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Portland.

Cabiles worked with the University of Nevada Las Vegas athletics program as a student athletic trainer from 1996-98. At UNLV, he earned his bachelor’s degree in sports injury management in 1998 and was the men’s basketball and tennis teams’ strength and conditioning coach from 1999-2000.

He spent seven years with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Cabiles doubled his duties with the organization as head strength coach of the Portland Fire of the WNBA from 2000-02. He worked as a tester for the NBA Pre-Draft Combines in Orlando and Chicago.

Cabiles is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach with Distinction (RSCC*D). He is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist. He earned a Certification in Applied Functional Science through the Gray Institute.

He and his wife, Kara, reside in Jamesville with their children, Kendall and Peyton.


A proven leader in academic training, Tommy Powell came to Syracuse University as provost for student-athlete academic development in August 2013. Powell has an extensive background in guiding student-athletes to success in the classroom and in the community. He joined the Orange staff from Iowa State University, where he had served as the associate athletics director for academic services since 2008.
While with the Cyclones, Powell implemented a standard comprehensive academic support program for all student-athletes. The program helped student-athletes attain a higher cumulative GPA than the general student population from 2011 to 2013. Iowa State’s 79 percent federal graduation rate in 2010 was the highest in the Big 12 and the seventh-best among FBS schools. In 2009, Iowa State’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program earned the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association National Program of Excellence Award.
Prior to his time at Iowa State, Powell was the associate director of the Louisiana State University Academic Center for Student-Athletes from 2001 to 2008. In addition to serving as the academic coordinator for several teams, including football and basketball, Powell monitored the progress toward degree and eligibility requirements for at-risk student-athletes.
Powell began his academic support career at LSU where he worked as an academic counselor for the College of Arts and Sciences for two years. He was the director of counseling services at River Parishes Community College from 1998 to 2000 before serving as the director of the TRIO Dissemination Partnership Program at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2000 and 2001. The program trained and supervised college faculty on the implementation of supplemental instruction.
Powell earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 and his master’s degree in counseling in 1995 from Southeastern Louisiana. He and his wife, Deborah, have two sons, Tyler and Ethan.


Oliver Haney enters his first season as the assistant director of student-athlete development after serving the previous three years as the academic coordinator for women’s basketball and men’s rowing. Haney worked with the football program for three seasons before his current appointment in January 2015. 

Haney is a familiar face in Syracuse. The 2011 graduate played both offensive and defensive line for the Orange football team from 2007-11 and was a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic Team selection. 

After earning his bachelor’s degree in physical education, Haney completed a master’s degree in inclusive secondary special education while working as a graduate assistant in the department of student-athlete development. He was appointed as an academic coordinator in the Spring of 2013 and is responsible for mentoring and advising student-athletes in development of academic plans and class schedules, coordinating the objective-based study table, coordinating tutor appointments for the student-athletes, and assisting with eligibility procedures and mid-year certification.

In July 2011, Haney served as assistant director of the Youth Impact Program, mentoring and tutoring sixth, seventh, and eighth grade boys from the Syracuse City School District. The program included both, classroom work and life skills sessions, concluding with full contact football practice sessions.

A native of Clark, N.J., Haney was a student teacher at both Liverpool High School and Grant Middle School from January 2012 to April 2013.

Official biographies courtesy Cuse.com

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