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Published on September 01, 2021

Avera is In the Huddle to Help Mount Marty University Football Start with Wins

When you’re starting something new, it’s great to have help.

That’s certainly the case for the Mount Marty University football program in Yankton, SD, which begins its inaugural season Sept. 4. The new football program found allies in Avera Health, whose strength and conditioning coaching teams are helping more than 100 players prepare for the season.

“We’re working to help every player reach their highest performance potential, and we want them all to be as injury-resistant as possible,” said Avera Performance Coach Mark "Coach Rozy" Roozen. “The better the physical conditioning, the more resilient the player, and less likely they will get hurt.”

Roozen, along with his team of other full and part-time coaches, joins a number of Avera programs that will support Mount Marty, including on-site physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists. Mount Marty University changed its name in 2020. A year later, the school, which is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), will field its first football team.

“We’re lucky to have help from Coach Rozy and his team – it’s an amazing resource,” said head coach John Michaletti. “He’s great with relationships, and that makes all the difference for younger players.”

Michaletti said the two teams – Avera and Mount Marty – have melded during preparation for the first season. Avera really started to help Mount Marty football before it existed.

“It was a crucial part of our recruiting,” Michaletti said. “Moms and dads felt better knowing they were sending their sons to a team that had such a high-end health system backing us up. For them to realize there was a great hospital right next door to campus made a difference.”

Roozen leads a team of trainers and strength and conditioning coaches who mesh their knowledge with MMU football coaches. His team also continues to provide training to high-school athletics programs from Gayville-Volin and Yankton to Irene/Wakonda and Beresford, SD.

“We are glad to have this opportunity with a clean-slate MMU program,” Roozen said. “The team is really coming together. We’re instilling good habits that will help them succeed.”

Avera contributed funds to the Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse, where the team does its strength and conditioning training. The state-of-the-art facility also serves as a community center for wellness and exercise. Michaletti said having a new, robust facility helped attract players. There are about 15 transfer players on the roster who are joining the team from other programs across the U.S.

“I come from a strength and conditioning background, and I know how vital it is to success,” he said. “Not every NAIA program has this level of support, and we’re indebted to Avera’s effort.”

The Mount Marty University Lancers take on the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers Sept. 4 in Yankton, SD. Learn more about Avera performance programs, such as the one Coach Rozy offers athletes.

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