Catchin’ Up with DeJuan Hathaway
Class Year: 2005
Major at MC: Physical Education
Senior Thesis Topic: Strength and Conditioning: The Secret to Success in Collegiate Football Programs
Current Town/City of Residence: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Occupation: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist: Special Operational Forces
Describe your career path since graduating from MC.
My career as a strength and conditioning specialist actually began while I was still enrolled at MC. During my last two years, I served as a volunteer strength coach with the University of Tennessee’s strength and conditioning program. I also did a summer internship in 2004 with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln strength and conditioning program. Upon graduation, I continued to volunteer at the University of Tennessee, until I was offered a full scholarship as a graduate assistant coach with the University of Hawaii-Manoa. I served as a strength coach with the University of Hawaii from 2006-2009. During that time I also earned my master’s degree in kinesiology. In 2007, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) selected me as one of two the recipients for the minority scholarship. It was during my last semester at Hawaii that I started developing a passion to work with military personnel. Ironically, one week before I graduated from Hawaii, I was offered a position as a Fitness Specialist/Physical Training Coordinator with the U.S. Navy and Marines of Kaneohe Marine Base, Hawaii. I spent the next two years at this location. During my tenure, I was asked to present my fitness program to over 2,000 soldiers from across the world at the 2010 RIMPAC. RIMPAC, or the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, so being asked to speak at this venue was such an extraordinary honor. That same week, I was award the Civilian Appreciation Award by the U.S. Navy and Marines for my impact on soldier fitness. During my time in Hawaii, I also began my professional career as a Mixed Martial Artist. In 2011, I eventually took a position at Ft. Benning, Georgia as Strength and Conditioning Specialist working with the U.S. Army. During my tenure, I received prestigious awards such as the Commanding Generals Award of Excellence, Commanders Award for Public Service and Support Cadre of the Cycle on two different occasions. In 2013, I was hired as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the United States Special Operational Forces, Ft. Bragg, N.C. Since my tenure here, I became Level-1 and Level-2 Modern Army Combatives Certified. During the course of my career, I have assisted over 30,000 soldiers, retirees and civilians in the area of fitness. I am certified through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS), Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) and Functional Movement Screen (FMS). I also have a personal website www.hathawayfitness.com.
Describe your job or a typical day “in the office.”
My day usually begins at 5:30 a.m., setting station up for group training, which goes from 6-9 a.m. Each group session last roughly one hour. After my last morning session, there is a typically a 3-hour block which is considered “personal development time.” During this time, I usually work out, wrestle, kickbox, or prep for my afternoon group. Usually I have a mid-day group (11 a.m.-12 p.m.). Every Friday is “Circuit Friday.” This is the hardest training day of the week – the best part about it is that I work out with my groups on this day. It’s a great way to build a relationship with the soldiers and show them “who the man is.” My mid-day group is my last group for the day so, by 2 p.m., I am at home in the swimming pool! My nights are usually spent training for my next professional fight (practice usually lasts about 2 hours). I enjoy Martial Arts training – it is a great workout and stress reliever.
What has been your most exciting/enjoyable professional experience to date?
I truly enjoy the daily interaction and relationships with the soldiers. It really makes my job worthwhile knowing that I helped soldiers reach their dreams of becoming a Navy Seal, Army Ranger, or passing a physical training test. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that every soldier I have trained is physically and mentally prepared to meet the demands of combat. They put their lives on the line for our nation’s freedom, so for me not to give my 100% would be impertinent.
Who at MC influenced you? How?
Dr. Margie Ribble and Dr. Danny Pierce: There were numerous times in which I just wanted to throw in the towel, for I was not strong academically my first few semesters. But they always continued to encourage me and believed in my abilities that I did not see within myself.
Dr. Overstreet: There is only one word to describe him: genius! I was always grasped by his unique style of teaching. He had a way of keeping you involved with his lecture, and often times I did not want the class to end. He would suspense you just enough that you had to come back for more. I often utilized his strategic method when training my soldiers. I give them just enough that they come back for more!
There are not enough words to describe how each of these superb professors had a tremendous impact on my life during my tenure at MC. I am grateful that I was able to be a scholar in each of these superb professors’ classes.
Describe your book. Why did you want to write it? Who is your audience?
My book is entitled Special Forces Fitness Training: Gym Free Workouts to Build Muscle and Get in Elite Shape. Just like professional athletes, elite soldiers receive special training to acquire amazing speed, agility, strength, balance, endurance, flexibility, reactions, and physical and mental resilience. Special Forces Fitness Training provides military personnel and civilians with a program for achieving these same top physical capabilities. This program was designed for real-world application. No part of the program requires gym equipment: readers can do the 150 tough exercises and 30 exciting workouts in any location, at any time. Like soldiers staying fit on deployment at barren outposts, exercise enthusiasts can use the program to get ripped in their home. This intense training manual equips beginning, intermediate, and advanced-level athletes with the “orders” they need to improve their head-to-toe fitness and hone an intimidating physique. With detailed photos for each exercise, this guide is all a civilian requires to achieve top military-level conditioning.
Professionally or personally, what’s still on your “bucket list”?
1. Earn my Ph.D.
2. Become a fitness trainer for a U.S. president
3. Win a world title as Professional Martial Artist
How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?
When I graduated from MC, I had the confidence that I could overcome any obstacle life threw at me and the ability to achieve any goal I set for myself. MC taught me not to limit my gifts within a box but to be open to change. The variety of courses I took at MC non-related to Physical Education made me a much more valuable and diverse professional in my career field. Now, it opens my mind to look a certain perspectives or obstacles from many views. I often reflect back on my own career -- if I would not have taken that step of faith to switch over from college coaching to military coaching, would I be experiencing the success I have today? MC helped instill the embracement of change within me.
Complete this sentence: My classmates may be surprised to learn that I:
Did two stage plays with MC Theater. That was probably one of the most enjoyable events during my time at MC.
What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I am a professional mixed martial artist with an overall record of 5-0. I recently signed a three-fight television contract with the XFC (Xtreme Fighting Championship). I also compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a Purple Belt.
I love grilling in my spare time and going to the beach - it is a must that I make a trip to the beach once a month. I blame my beach addiction on Hawaii!
What's your best memory from your years as a student at MC?
The friendships that were made. Whether it was through football, class, or theater, I made some of the closet friendships at MC. To this day, I still keep in contact with former classmates or teammates. Its good to have that close-knit community MC provides, which you could not get at larger universities/colleges.