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July 2, 2013

Former Hornet plying his trade with Jets’ staff

Pierre Ngo’s passion for weight lifting not only led him to a state powerlifting championship as a Hilldale Hornet, but to the pursuit of a career.

Ngo, a 2003 Hilldale graduate, was hired in February as the assistant strength and conditioning coach of the New York Jets after spending one year there as an intern.

“It’s definitely what I’ve wanted to do dating back to high school,” he said Monday while in town on vacation. He’ll begin his first training camp in the position later this month.

Ngo was a two-year letterman at Langston out of Hilldale where as a Hornet he was a linebacker and two-way lineman. He finished his football career as a walk-on at Oklahoma  where he obtained a degree in health and sports science. He interned at both Arizona State and UNLV before landing a full-time position in 2009-11 at Phillippi Sports Institute in Las Vegas, training with various professional athletes. One year back at Arizona State as assistant strength coach for football and head strength coach for men’s golf and women’s volleyball and tennis led him to an intern with the Jets in 2012.

“While I was at Arizona State, Mike Eubanks, a graduate assistant there, got a job with the Denver Broncos. I stayed in touch with him and found out about it. He recommended me to Bill Hughan and I got here for the internship.”

Hughan, the head strength and conditioning coach for the Jets at the time, was let go in January. Justus Galac got the job and elevated Ngo to a full-time assistant.

“It’s crazy to think about it,” Ngo said. “It’s the highest level of the game and it’s amazing how kinetically gifted these guys are.”

There’s distinct differences in moving from the collegiate to the NFL level in his specific job, he said.

“You know, as an athlete, you’re a baby coming out of high school and will listen to whatever you’re told. In the NFL you have adults and you have to treat them like adults. You can’t do the drill sergeant routine.

“Then there’s the range of players from the guys just out of college to the 10-year vets, then you’ve got guys in the middle and all the different power-lifting backgrounds.  You have to mesh all this into one but it’s still much more individualized than it is in college.”

While the NFL coaching job culture is like traffic at a bus depot with unsettled job security, Ngo’s gig is a bit different, not as subject to the won-loss record as the main man on the sidelines.

“Here it’s really more if your general manager likes you, he keeps you,” he said.

He hopes that continues to be the case and he settles in for a while.

 As for the current Jets’ head coach, Rex Ryan, Ngo likes him.

“I love the guy,” he said. “He’s great to work for, he’s a players coach and I know the players love him and he’s a great person to be around,” Ngo said. “He’s the type of guy who makes everyone around him better.”

He’s enjoying the time off but will return to New York on July 15 where he’ll continue to supervise voluntary workouts until training camp starts July 22.

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