In his 11 previous seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Mark Lovat feels blessed to have worked for a number of respected and accomplished strength and conditioning coordinators.
Now Lovat is getting the opportunity to apply everything he's learned.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has promoted Lovat from assistant strength and conditioning coach to coordinator, swapping titles with Dave Redding, who will remain on the coaching staff as Lovat's assistant in 2010.
McCarthy has indicated that the move was part of his plan when he hired Redding last year at this time.
"I'm very fortunate that Mike has the confidence in me to do it," Lovat said. "I've been here a long time, but it's been awesome. I've had some of the best strength coaches in the league."
Those include Kent Johnston, who was just hired by former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren to head up the strength and conditioning department for the Cleveland Browns; Barry Rubin, now with the Philadelphia Eagles; Rock Gullickson, currently with the St. Louis Rams; and Redding, who will begin his 24th season in the NFL in 2010.
"All that time working with those people has been a blessing in itself," Lovat said. "Now, getting to keep 'Red Man' here, and working with him again in a little different capacity, I'm looking forward to it.
"It's been one of the best professional experiences of my life, working with him. Essentially we're just switching offices is what it amounts to. We worked so closely together last year, and nothing's going to change in that capacity this year. It's a transition for down the road, but as far as our working relationship, I don't see anything changing."
For now, Lovat's focus will be on finalizing plans for the players' offseason strength and conditioning program, which is slated to begin March 15. Lovat said that once he gets the complete offseason schedule from McCarthy he'll proceed with more specifics.
"We'll plot out our days and start plotting our program design," Lovat said. "We've done it so many times and gone through so many options already that we have a real good idea of our plan, and we'll put it in place now as far as some new tweaks we'll do this year. That's the process we're in right now."
An assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Packers since 1999, Lovat prides himself on keeping up with the advances in a constantly evolving field. He said plenty of changes have come about just in the decade-plus that he's been in the NFL full-time.
"You have to continue to educate yourself. To me that's huge, to not get stagnant," Lovat said.
"I hope that's what I bring to this, that we continue to grow. That's the big thing. This (weight) room has to be a living organism, and that's how it's fed is by education, by the people you bring in and staying up on things. That's how I look at it."
The only other change to McCarthy's coaching staff for 2010 is a swap of roles between Curtis Fuller and Chad Morton.
Fuller, an assistant special teams coach last year, will move into Morton's role as a coaching administrator and focus on the defense. Morton will take over Fuller's duties as assistant special teams coach under coordinator Shawn Slocum.