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SU’s Corliss Fingers making history first female strength coach

6/18/2012

Southern University welcomes Corliss Fingers as the new strength and conditioning coach, and the history that comes with it. Fingers is the first female to wear that title at a NCAA Division 1 football program.

With 18 years of experience in the profession, Fingers welcomes the pressure from doubters and uses it to motivate her to work that much harder. Her drive to make the players better is clear.

Since the University of North Carolina alumnus’ time on the job, Fingers has already made an impression on the players. Her tough and determined approach showed within 10 minutes of the first workout she conducted. Fingers said she got their attention with the intensity of just the warm-up prior to the workout.

The St. Louis native worked with the University of Maryland before joining Southern. She with the strengthen and conditioning team that helped the 2006 women’s basketball squad win its first national championship and setting a then-NCAA Division 1 record of 34 wins in a season.

Fingers is excited about the 2012 football season, believing the players will be mentally and physically ready.

The most challenging part of her job is “getting the young men to see how great they are and knowing what they can do…They are holding themselves back and we are changing their attitudes,” said the pioneer.

“They will be proud of this season and proud to be a Jag,” said Fingers. She already sees a change in their mentality. Physically they have gotten faster and stronger since April.

The key is to take the negative mindsets and change them to positive outcomes, said Fingers with passion in her voice.

Although football is Fingers’ main focus right now, she also works with volleyball, men’s basketball and a few women basketball players who are attending summer school. 

She has one full-time intern and a few extra hands here and there. But overall it is all on Fingers to prepare the athletes physically.

As a wife and mother of a three-year-old son, she is able to find balance between home and her career.

Fingers can also add role model to her list of titles as women striving to work in athletics have contact her for advice. Her advice is simple, “work hard and don’t let anyone stand in your way. It can be done.”

Fingers says she is excited to be at Southern and she has caught on to the contagious Southern pride. “I’m excited for the successful athletic season set ahead,” said Fingers.