June 10, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
– You’ve seen the commercials that reference, “Army Strong.” How do you think they get that way?
Answer: the U.S. Army goes to Georgia Tech and hires Neal Peduzzi away to become a special strength and conditioning coach.
Peduzzi left Tech about a month ago, and has been training the Army’s Seventh Special Forces group – that would include the Green Berets, in case you’re wondering – at Eglin Air Force Base near Destin, Fla.
It was not an easy decision to leave Tech, where he had been for about eight years. Nor did Peduzzi pursue the job so much as he was pursued.
“I really wasn’t looking for anything else,” he said. “I have great friends at Georgia Tech and there are great people there. I wasn’t really looking to leave.”
That contact was persistent, however, and finally talked the Greenwood, S.C., native into visiting the base to give everything a look-see.
“We talked for three or four weeks about this job. Finally, he just said to come down and look,” Peduzzi said. “We had lunch, he showed me around the base, I got to meet some people, and on the way home . . . I said to myself this is an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down at this time in my life. It wasn’t an easy decision. I went back and forth.”
Peduzzi initially said that he’s doing the same thing with the Army Special Forces that he was doing with Tech football in recent years. He was an assistant at Tech for six years before serving the better part of the past two as the director of player development.
He thought about it for a moment, and called an audible.
“In football, you’re trying to get the guys bigger, stronger and faster. Their plays are basically five seconds at a time, with about 35 seconds of rest, and there might be 60 or 70 plays in a game,” Peduzzi explained. “These guys here, you still want to make them strong, but not necessarily any bigger.
“These guys do more things. You’re not going to take a bunch of offensive linemen and say, ‘Let’s go run three miles.’ First, they wouldn’t make it, and second it would have nothing to do with what they do in their sport.”
Peduzzi’s transition has had a few hiccups. He anticipates closing on a home purchase on June 20, and he can’t say that he has enjoyed living temporarily in a furnished condominium.
“It’s pretty much terrible,” he said. “I spent just about all of [Saturday] getting set up with movers to get my stuff from Atlanta. I’m trying to sell my house there . . . and that’s kind of a pain, of course. But so far this has been great.”