Dave Van Halanger, who has been the Georgia football program’s director of strength and conditioning for the past decade, was reassigned Thursday.
Van Halanger was shifted to a new position as administrative assistant to coach Mark Richt, who named Joe Tereshinski, a former Georgia player and long-time staffer, to succeed Van Halanger as strength and conditioning director.
Van Halanger –- one of the first people Richt hired upon arriving at Georgia in January 2001 — has more than three decades experience as a strength coach and is well known for his grueling off-season “mat drills.” But Georgia’s strength training, like many other aspects of the program, has drawn criticism as the Bulldogs have posted back-to-back disappointing seasons.
The reassignment of Van Halanger, 57, came exactly one year after Richt’s last staff shakeup. On Dec. 2, 2009, following a 7-5 regular season, Richt fired three assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Willie Martinez.
Georgia completed a 6-6 regular season last week.
For Van Halanger’s replacement, Richt turned to a man with deep ties to the Georgia program.
Tereshinski, 57, has been an assistant strength coach at Georgia since 1982. He also has doubled in other roles through the years: offensive line and special teams coach (1982-84), administrative assistant to coach Vince Dooley (1985-86) and video coordinator (since 1987).
“Joe has had a hand in Georgia’s strength and conditioning program for nearly 30 years,” Richt said in a statement Thursday. “I’m excited about what he can bring to our program in this capacity and the direction he’ll set as we move forward.”
In addition to being a former Georgia player — the starting center in 1975 and ‘76 — Tereshinski is the son, brother and father of former Bulldogs. His father, Joe Tereshinski Sr., lettered in the 1940s; his brother, Wally Tereshinski, in the 1970s; and his son, Joe Tereskinski III, in 2004-06.
According to UGA, Van Halanger’s new role will include involvement in areas such as players’ character education, mentoring and community-service initiatives.
“Dave has made immeasurable contributions to our football program and been a major factor in our 96 victories over the last 10 years,” Richt said. “This role for Dave will allow us to tap into many of his strengths that will be of great benefit to Georgia, to me, and most of all to our student-athletes in a very unique way.
“He will be outstanding in working with and motivating our young people in these many areas that will bring strong guidance to them in their daily lives.”
Van Halanger, who followed Richt to Georgia from Florida State, was the Seminoles’ strength and conditioning coach for 18 years (1983-2000). Before that, he was the strength coach at West Virginia, his alma mater, for five years. His teams have reached bowls for 30 consecutive seasons.
He was inducted into the Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame in 2003.
Van Halanger and Tereshinski will assume their new duties on Jan. 1, UGA said.