From Northwestern and back again, Kyle Oschner, aka Coach Ox, went from being a student to impacting students through their athletic careers.
Coach Ox is the director of athletic performance and professor of practice of kinesiology. He has been at NW for eight years. A typical day for him starts with a 5:45 a.m. arrival to campus to enjoy a pot of coffee and some time in the Word. After that, he tends to answer his emails and prep for his first class of the day at 7:45. When mid-morning arrives, he does his training regimen while listening to the latest podcasts.
“I find it very important to not only develop and maintain our physical bodies but also our mental and intellectual capacities, which means investing in knowledge outside of your profession,” Ox said.
After his workout, he is back to his faculty responsibilities and teaching another course. He spends lunch with his 21-month-old daughter, Luna, who’s so well-known that she even has her own Instagram account. After his daily dosage of daughter time, he preps for training protocols for his athletes and tends to other athletic administrative duties.
From about 3:15-6:45 p.m., he is working at the Korver Athletic Performance Center with the Red Raider athletes. The multiple teams he works with are volleyball, cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, cheer, dance, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, softball and baseball. While he lets some of his student strength and conditioning coaches/interns step in to help with the training for NW’s athletes, he oversees all of the training, specifically in the Juffer Fieldhouse.
Even though Coach Ox is a faculty member of NW right now, he previously attended the college as a student, graduating in 2009. He then went to Texas Tech to pursue his master’s degree. While doing that, he had the opportunity to serve with many of the Red Raider athletes in regards to strength and conditioning, along with teaching some undergraduate classes.
Soon after, he moved to the University of Minnesota and spent about two years working on strength and conditioning with the men’s and women’s hockey teams and studied under a phenomenal mentor. During that time at the U of M, Calsbeek was investigating a new concentration in strength and conditioning at NW, which is when Ox first discovered the potential opportunity to return to his alma mater. Being that NW did not have the position when he was a student, Ox had no envision of returning. However, in 2012, his current position was created, and he felt strongly called to apply.
For Ox, NW has been a place that challenges and fosters his spiritual growth.
“It has also taught me that S&C coaching is more than just developing protocols and leading athletes through them. It is a multifaceted approach. One that involves fostering relationships beyond the classroom, training by building safety and trusting and sharing vulnerabilities,” Ox said.
Not only has he learned from his experiences at NW, but also on multiple mission trips he has done in the past. If it was leading students on three different Spring Service Partnerships – New Orleans, Compton, and Amsterdam – or leading students on their Summer Study Abroad (SSA) trips to the Czech Republic, throughout all of the opportunities of him going all over the world, it has taught him to see God in a much broader perspective.
“All of these adventures have allowed me to see beyond the ‘single story’ and take a vesting interest in the people and their cultures,” Ox said.
Throughout his time at NW, he’s impacted many students on campus, especially those he’s worked with in the weight room.
“He gets to know his students on a personal level. I respect his work ethic, the way he treats others, how intentional he is with his faith and encouraging others to do so, the way he treats and talks about his family and the way he views life,” said Emily Reynen, senior exercise science major and one of Ox’s student coaches. “I feel comfortable asking questions about class with Ox, but I also trust him in helping me figure out what life looks like after college.”
In reference to his love for NW, Ox said, “I love the people that I get to interact with on a day-to-day basis – whether that be our students or my colleagues.”
Coach Ox would love the opportunity to talk to and meet new students, so feel free to ask him how he is doing, how he enjoys being a father to his younger daughter or what necessary steps you should take to have a healthier lifestyle.