On September 21, 2019, the strength and conditioning and sport nutrition communities unexpectedly lost a friend, colleague, and scholar, Dr. Mike Greenwood. Because Dr. Greenwood began his career as a coach who later studied and conducted sport science research, he epitomized the mission of the National Strength and Conditioning Association to bridge the gap between science and practice. This memorial provides a brief overview about Dr. Greenwood's background and professional impact.
Background and Experience
Mike Greenwood was born on September 12, 1956, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Carl and Barbara Greenwood. His father was a gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his sisters Kathleen and Deb moved around a lot until the family settled down in Springfield, Illinois, where his brother Patrick was born. Once his father retired from the military, his parents bought and operated an archery store. When Mike was young, he won a number of youth archery competitions and participated in shooting exhibitions at local schools with his father. Mike attended Riverton High School in Springfield, Illinois, where he played baseball, basketball, and ran track.
After graduating high school, Mike played baseball and received a bachelor's degree in Physical Education, Health, and Human Sciences from Greenville College in 1978. From 1978 to 1981, Mike taught high school physical education and coached football, track, and basketball. In 1983, Mike received his masters of science in education from Northern Illinois University. After 2 years working as a manager at a fitness center, he did postgraduate studies in exercise psychology in the Department of Sport Sciences at the University of Iowa from 1984 to 1985. From 1985 to 1992, Mike served as an assistant professor and assistant baseball coach at Hardin Simmons University. During this time, he traveled back and forth to Texas Women's University to earn his PhD in Exercise Science, Motor Learning, and Special Populations in 1990.
From 1992 to 1996, Dr. Greenwood served as an associate professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Head Baseball coach at Barry University. At Barry, Dr. Greenwood met and then married Dr. Lori Greenwood. From 1996 to 2002, Dr. Greenwood served as an associate professor and then a professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Sport Sciences at Arkansas State University. During this time, Dr. Greenwood began collaborating with Dr. Richard Kreider in the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab (ESNL) as well as Dr. Andy Fry at the University of Memphis. In 2003, Dr. Greenwood joined Dr. Kreider and Dr. Darryn Willoughby at Baylor University to serve as a professor, graduate coordinator, and ESNL research associate in the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation at Baylor University. In 2010, Dr. Greenwood moved to the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University to as a clinical professor and research associate in the ESNL where he served until his passing.
Teaching and Mentoring
One of Dr. Greenwood's greatest gifts was teaching and mentoring. He was a demanding professor, but his students knew he had their best interests at heart and wanted them to develop into outstanding professionals and scholars. During his academic career, Dr. Greenwood chaired or served on the committees of over 50 masters or doctoral students. Many of these students have distinguished themselves as professors and scholars; significant contributors to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR), and Strength and Conditioning; and have received national NSCA awards. At Dr. Greenwood's remembrance, current and former students gathered to pay tribute and shared stories how he went to great lengths to recruit them, welcome them to campus, and help them matriculate through their programs. Dr. Greenwood's legacy of contributing to the development of outstanding professionals and scholars will influence the field of strength and conditioning for generations.
Dr. Greenwood also made a lasting impact on the field of strength and conditioning through his scholarship. Dr. Greenwood began publishing during graduate school with articles focusing on physical education, coaching, motor control, sport psychology, and professional development of strength and conditioning specialists. In 1998, he introduced himself to me at the NSCA national conference in Nashville, TN, and indicated he was willing to drive back and forth from Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to the University of Memphis. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Greenwood began collaborating on a number of studies conducted in the ESNL as well as replicated several studies at ASU. This included seminal work on creatine supplementation as well as significant research on the safety and efficacy of β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB), conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), ribose, nutrient timing, and many other nutritional interventions designed to optimize strength training adaptations. His work assessing the impact of creatine supplementation on injury rates that was published in the Journal of Athletic Training was particularly noteworthy as it helped refute claims in the media that creatine supplementation increased the prevalence of injuries in athletes. In addition, he contributed chapters related to facility management and safety for Essentials of Strength and Conditioning. These chapters have significantly contributed to the proper design and management of countless fitness and strength and conditioning programs.
When Dr. Greenwood moved to Baylor University, he began working more intimately with students and researchers in the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab as well as with Dr. Darryn Willoughby who also moved to Baylor to help develop a doctoral program in exercise, nutrition, and preventive health. This program attracted a number of outstanding students such as Dr. Colin Wilborn, Dr. Chad Kerksick, Dr. Bill Campbell, Dr. Lem Taylor, and others who have since contributed heavily to strength, conditioning, and nutrition research; become heavily involved in NSCA leadership; and/or received national awards from the NSCA. Research conducted during this time included assessing the role of resistance exercise and nutrition on mitogenic regulating factors; assessing the role of various nutritional interventions on health and performance (e.g., carbohydrate gels, nutrient timing of carbohydrate and protein, zinc magnesium aspartate, ribose, calcium pyruvate, arginine alpha ketoglutarate, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, arachidonic acid, coenzyme Q10, creatine ethyl ester, D-pinitol, beta-alanine, etc); and various diet strategies to promote weight loss in women engaged in resistance-exercise training. This type of research continued after moving to Texas A&M University with additional research on the impact of implementing cluster sets, altered gravity, and various resistance-training programs on training and/or rehabilitation; nutritional interventions on exercise and training adaptations (e.g., buffered creatine, creatine nitrate, phosphatidylserine, amino acids, tart cherry, preworkout supplements, etc); and weight loss and management in women. Many of these studies have generated significant additional research interest in these areas. Moreover, Dr. Greenwood wrote several sport nutrition–related books and contributed to a number of highly cited position stands published by the International Society of Sports Nutrition. As of this writing, this work has been cited more than 5,000 times in the literature. Thus, Dr. Greenwood has left a legacy of significant scholarship.
Dr. Greenwood was also a highly engaged professional. Over the years, Dr. Greenwood served on over 50 state, regional, and national committees for organizations such as the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAPHERD), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), American College of Sports Nutrition (ACSM), American Society of Exercise Physiology (ASEP), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). In terms of the NSCA, Dr. Greenwood served as the state director in Arkansas and Texas and member of numerous committees (e.g., education committee, curriculum director for NSCA educational recognition programs, committee for disabled populations, undergraduate and graduate education recognition subcommittee, educator of the year award subcommittee, executive council of the NSCA certification commission, research, and education committee). In addition, Dr. Greenwood served as an abstract, scholarship, and grant reviewer for the NSCA as well as a reviewer, editorial board member, and/or associate editor on dozens of journals, including the JSCR and Strength and Conditioning Journal. In recognition for his teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Greenwood was named 1995 Sunshine State Conference Baseball Coach-of-the-Year; ASU College of Education Research Award (2000); Arkansas AHPERD Higher Educator Of The Year Award (2000); ASU College of Education Research Award (2001); Fellow of the ACSM (2003); Baylor University Graduate Student Association Faculty Award (2003); NSCA Educator of the Year Award (2004); Fellow International Society of Sport Nutrition (2005); Fellow National Strength and Conditioning Association (2006); NSCA RSCC*D Credential Awarded By The NSCA (2014); NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (2018); and NSCA-Certified with Distinction (Strength and Conditioning Specialist ). Thus, Dr. Greenwood left a legacy of active engagement that has positively impacted the practice of countless strength, conditioning, and sport nutrition professionals.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not comment the impact Dr. Greenwood had on many of his colleagues. Dr. Greenwood always took the time to reach out to his friends and colleagues to see how they and their families were doing. Whether it was a discussion at a conference, a phone call, or an email, Mike truly cared about the welfare of his colleagues and friends. It is no wonder that his passing has prompted so many former students, colleagues, and friends to express their condolences to his family and members in our laboratory. As one individual noted, the strength, conditioning, and sport nutrition field “has lost a true legend.” Fortunately, his dedication to teaching, scholarship, and professional engagement will live on through the thousands of lives he has positively influenced throughout his career.