University of South Carolina Aiken graduate Eric Wehrmann is thrilled to be back on campus. Eight years after earning his bachelor of science degree in Exercise and Sports Science, he returned in August as the university's new Sports Performance Director.
Wehrmann's collegiate career began at USC Salkehatchie where he played baseball and earned his associate's degree. The Lexington native continued playing at Erskine College before suffering a knee injury when he left school to work full-time.
As he recovered from his injury, Wehrmann began to understand the importance of a strength and conditioning program. With the encouragement of a friend and fellow student, he followed his love for sports to USC Aiken to finish his bachelor's degree.
"I never experienced the benefit of a strength and conditioning program as a student-athlete and wanted to learn more about that," he says. "I saw USC Aiken as an opportunity. It was more than just class for me. The faculty weren't just teachers—they were friends, mentors and coaches."
After his graduation in 2015, Wehrmann was hired as a graduate assistant for sports performance at the University of South Carolina. He oversaw all strength and conditioning for men's soccer and men's golf while assisting with athletic performance programming for baseball, track and field, women's soccer, volleyball, and tennis.
Following USC, he directed the performance programming for 20 sports teams at Hammond School in Columbia before becoming the director of strength and conditioning at White Knoll High School in Lexington. There, he created programming for all 27 athletic teams and developed exercise and sports sciences courses, teaching students about the basics of healthy lifestyles, including biomechanics, kinesiology, nutrition, and physiology.
He says, "I learned a lot in those years. At Hammond, I got to see where a lot of the Carolina athletes started. At White Knoll, I was able to coach a lot of athletes from middle school to high school. But I missed the competitive aspect at the college level."
When the USC Aiken Sports Performance Director position became open earlier this year, it was a chance for Wehrmann and his family to be together in a place they now call home. He and his wife Lacie, the university's Director of Student Leadership and Engagement, met as USC Aiken students. Wehrmann now enjoys a shorter commute and spends more time with Lacie and their seven-month-old son, Boone.
"I saw this as an opportunity to grow at a place where I grew a lot myself," he says. "It's fun that Lacie and I are both on the same campus again, helping students at the same institution. It's a win-win situation."
In his new role, Wehrmann oversees the Athletic Performance Center, where he provides strength and conditioning expertise to all student-athletes and coaches. The 2,400-sq. ft. facility opened in January 2022 and boasts state-of-the-art Sorinex equipment, is centrally located just behind the Convocation Center, and is used by athletes from all sports.
"We have everything an athlete could need in there," he says.
One new feature he would like to add, however, is a nutrition station equipped with smoothies, shakes, protein bars, and other supplements to allow athletes to replace nutrients and calories immediately after a workout. His overarching goal is simply to make the Athletic Performance Center the best asset it can be for USC Aiken's student-athletes.
"My goal is to bring all teams onto a level playing field in strength and conditioning and give all athletes the training they need both in and out of season to keep them on the field," Wehrmann says. "Their best attribute is their availability to play. If they're hurt, I'm not doing what I need to be doing to increase their strength, prowess, mobility, and overall athletic potential."