USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame coach Leo Totten, MS, USAW-5, is adding his expertise to the Sports Performance team at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Totten holds the highest coaching designation within USA Weightlifting as a Level 5 International Coach. He has been providing the St. Luke’s sports performance coaching staff and Sports Performance Residency Program with mentorship, education and practical experience for almost a year.
“Having Leo on board is a really huge deal,” said Jillian Seamon, Sports Medicine Coordinator at St. Luke’s. She has been coached by Totten for five years.
“We have partnered with Leo for him to be a consultant with our sports performance team, and as a Hall of Fame coach who is listed among the 65 Most Influential Strength Coaches of All Time, it was a no-brainer to bring him on board.”
Totten served as Team Leader of USA Weightlifting at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He has also coached five World Championship teams, four World University teams, and three Pan Am teams for USA Weightlifting.
The East Coast Gold Weightlifting Team he founded in 1982 is the largest weightlifting club in the U.S. and has 10 satellite branches. The team has won 21 National Men’s and Women’s titles and produced numerous international competitors for Team USA.
“I also have my own business with Totten Training Systems, where I teach USA Weightlifting certifications, teach my own TTS certification, as well as conduct clinics and seminars on weightlifting throughout the country,” Totten said. “In addition, I have developed a Coaching Mentorship program based on my experiences that helped develop some of the top U.S. weightlifters and coaches.”
“I put the mentorship program together because I have been involved in this sport – and other sports – for 50 years, and I have been fortunate to have a lot of great mentors. This is a way to give back to help the younger sports performance coaches coming out of college, to help with education and good practical experience so they don’t have to make the same mistakes some of us did while growing our expertise.”
Totten’s year-long mentorship program will provide weightlifting education to the St. Luke’s sports performance coaches and other partners, and he will also assist in the development of the St. Luke’s Weightlifting Team.
The ongoing education is designed to make the residents and staff better coaches and better communicators. Based in Littlestown, Pa., near the Maryland border, Totten has conducted both remote and in-person education and training sessions with the St. Luke’s sports performance staff.
“St. Luke’s is a great working environment and a great fit,” Totten said.
In addition to running East Coast Gold Weightlifting and Totten Training Systems, he works with Amplify Sports and Wellness, and is a senior contributor for SportsEd TV and PLAE Academy. He has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from West Chester University, and a Master's in Physical Education and Biomechanics from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College).
“The sport of weightlifting is obviously important to him,” said Seamon, “but he just wants to help make the people around him become better human beings. He is about more than just the sport.”