Sara MacKenzie just shattered several glass ceilings in the world of strength and conditioning with just one promotion at California Polytechnic State University.

After six years of being an assistant strength and conditioning coach and two-time interim head strength and conditioning coach at Cal Poly, MacKenzie was promoted to Director of Strength and Conditioning.

This makes her one of two women who hold a Director of Strength and Conditioning position among NCAA Division I schools with a football program.

MacKenzie graduated high school in West Chester, Ohio, and went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and health promotion from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with specializations in physical education and health education from Arizona State.

As she worked on her master’s degree, MacKenzie worked as a sports performance graduate assistant and sports performance intern at Arizona State and was also a flexibility specialist and stretch therapist for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

She holds certifications by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, USA Weightlifting, and in Level 1 Sports Performance, Russian Kettlebells Level II, and First Aid, CPR, and AED.

As a full-time assistant strength and conditioning coach at Cal Poly, she managed the weight room schedule, educated student-athletes about nutrition, and created and implemented programs for 11 of the school’s 21 sports teams. During her time at Cal Poly, both the men’s tennis and women’s basketball teams won Big West Conference championships, and both women’s soccer and volleyball teams claimed titles. The women’s volleyball team claimed the title twice — back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.

In a press release, MacKenzie said:

"I am really excited to have the opportunity to further my career at Cal Poly as the Director of Strength & Conditioning. I feel extremely fortunate to have such strong support from the administration, coaches, and student-athletes over the last seven years.

“My goal is to continue to build well-rounded, hard-working student-athletes who can find success in the classroom, on the field and in the weight room.”

Also in a comment to elitefts, MacKenzie said:

“I will never forget getting turned down for a Strength and Conditioning Position in Minor League Baseball, that I was over-qualified for, simply because of my gender. I could have easily let that stop me from pursuing my dream job. My advice for females who do not think it’s possible – Keep showing up. Keep proving to everyone that you deserve to be here. Work hard until they can’t deny that you are the best candidate for the job.”

Featured photo courtesy of Owen Main via Cal Poly