Erik Helland '87, a UW-Eau Claire physical education graduate, has been selected as the men's basketball strength and conditioning coach for the UW-Madison Badgers.
For the past 25 years Helland was a member of the Chicago Bulls strength and conditioning staff, serving as head strength coach beginning in 2001.
Helland said that as a student at UW-Eau Claire he always felt he was in an environment that recognized individuals and their unique qualities.
"Tom Prior (professor emeritus, kinesiology and athletics) was a coach and professor who saw a passion for training athletes in my class work and afforded me an opportunity to work with his swimming and diving teams," Helland said. "Looking back, experiences like that are life-changing. The opportunities to gain not just academic but hands-on practical experience at UW-Eau Claire were all around me."
Helland said that his role as a mentor is his greatest responsibility.
"Throughout my career, I have been acutely aware of the importance of strong mentorship and its impact on who we become as people and professionals," Helland said. "It was a gift that was given to me, and my job is to pass that gift on to the athletes and young coaches I come in contact with on a daily basis. I am beyond excited to have a part in student-athletes' development at UW-Madison."