Mike Blasquez is in his 21st year as a strength and conditioning coach, his 10th season at Cal and his second working with the school's football team in 2012. Blasquez worked directly with the Cal men's basketball program from 2003-10 before assuming his current responsibilities with the Golden Bears' football program at the beginning of the 2011 calendar year. He began his tenure at Cal in 2003 and has overseen the school's entire strength and conditioning program since 2007, managing training programs for all athletic teams in that role.
Blasquez has also been instrumental in developing many of the elements of the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance that opened in January of 2012. He was directly involved with the strategic planning, operations and design of the state-of-the-art 18,700-square foot High Performance Zone, a fully integrated training space with world-class strength and conditioning, sports medicine and sports science facilities and services. Developed with sports performance in mind, high-quality equipment and an open layout provide impressive training options to prepare for the highest levels of competition.
Among the many features of the facility are a large weight room, synthetic turf area, fitness studio, under-water AlterG treadmills and cold plunges.
The facility's weight room is outfitted with over 50,000 pounds of weight, 22 fully customized work stations with inlaid platforms that provide student-athletes with a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates the latest technology and adaptability in exercise and monitoring equipment. The 25-yard turf area is used for warm-ups, plyometrics, short agility work, medicine ball throws, rehabilitation and much more. Spin, Pilates, yoga and back classes are among the activities that take place in the fitness studio.
The high performance zone is centrally located within the Simpson Center that also houses the program's football offices, training room, rehabilitation facilities including AlterG treadmills and cold plunges, a medical suite, dining and nutrition, academic support area, team meeting room, locker room and player lounge - all just a few steps away.
"The central location of the high performance zone is critical and a key component of our philosophy," Blasquez said. "Everything that our student-athletes need to be successful is right here for them."
"Coach Blasquez has brought a new mindset to our strength and conditioning," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "His approach has been something different for the guys that they have all really enjoyed. I've seen transformation in their bodies through the workouts that they've done. Our players have really enjoyed the hard work, and I think it's going to pay off for us. We're going to be a stronger team than we've ever been this year, while continuing to work on speed and flexibility."
In addition to training current Cal student-athletes, many former players and local professional athletes work out with Blasquez and his Cal staff during their offseason. Players that have recently completed their collegiate eligibility the previous year are part of the mix as they are afforded the opportunity to stay in the Berkeley area after they graduate, or as they finish up their academics at Cal while also preparing for events such as the NFL Scouting Combine and Cal's Pro Day, which in 2012 was held mostly inside at the team's new facility due to inclement weather.
Many of the 13 players from Cal's 2011 team that are currently on NFL rosters continue to train at Cal and utilize the facility. Others that have trained recently at Cal include former players Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions), Chris Conte (Chicago Bears), Justin Forsett (Houston Texans), Lavelle Hawkins (Tennessee Titans), Jason Hill (Denver Broncos), Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars), Cameron Jordan (New Orleans Saints), Mike Mohamed (Denver Broncos), T.J. Ward (Cleveland Browns) and Demetrius Williams (free agent). Former Cal basketball players Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic) and Leon Powe (Atleticos de San German, Puerto Rico) are also among this group.
"We want to provide a place for former Cal student-athletes and professional athletes who live in the area to come and train in the offseason," Blasquez said. "It gives our recent players a chance to stay in the area and finish up their academics while getting an opportunity to train with elite athletes at the professional level. It's a great mix."
The Bay Area native arrived at Cal in 2003 after spending 11 seasons from 1992-2002 as the head strength and conditioning coach at De La Salle High School in Concord. During his tenure at the local legendary prep football national powerhouse, Blasquez worked alongside head coach Bob Ladouceur to lead the Spartans to a perfect 138-0 record as part of the team's national-record 151-game win streak from 1992-2004. During Blasquez' 11-year stint the Spartans were named national champions six times (1994, 1998-2002), were honored as the top team in California on 10 occasions (1992, 1994-2002) and won North Coast Section titles in each of his 11 seasons. Blasquez coached several future NFL players while at De La Salle, including current standouts Jones-Drew and D.J. Williams.
During his time with the Spartans, Blasquez was named the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the Professional Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society in 1998. From 2001-03, he was also the director of outreach at the Muir Hospital Orthopedic Center in Walnut Creek.
Blasquez received his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Cal State Hayward in 1991, and holds certifications in athletic training (ATC) and strength and conditioning (CSCS). He and his wife, Mary, have two daughters, Makena and Bianca.
LAST UPDATED: July 21, 2012