UW Health Sports Medicine 

Erik Helland
Erik  Helland

Edgerton, Wis.

Director of Strength & Conditioning

Season at UW:

A 25-year veteran of the NBA, Erik Helland enters his third year as Wisconsin's men's basketball strength and conditioning coach in 2015-16. In June of 2015 Helland was also promoted to UW's director of strength and conditioning and will oversee the strength and conditioning programs and facilities for all UW athletic teams.

Helland, who has served on the Chicago Bulls strength and conditioning staff since 1988 and the head strength coach since 2001, has over two decades of experience as a certified National Strength and Conditioning specialist and level I USA Weightlifting coach.

Helland's two seasons on the Badgers bench have coincided with perhaps the greatest two-year run in program history as UW reached back-to-back Final Fours for the first time. In his first season, Wisconsin a mark of 30-8 and advanced to the 2014 Final Four only to follow that up with a school-record 36 wins, Big Ten regular season and tournament championships as well as an appearance in the 2015 national championship.

Erik Helland
The Helland File
Edgerton, Wis.
Wife, Michele
Sons, Gunnar and Trevar
B.S., Physical Ed. (Athletic Training), UW-Eau Claire, 1987
Coaching Experience
Strength & Cond. Coach, Wisconsin (2013-present)
Strength & Cond. Coach, Chicago Bulls (2001-13)
Strength & Cond. Assistant, Chicago Bulls (1988-01)
Strength & Cond. Coach, Elk Mound (Wis.) H.S. (1987)
Strength & Cond. Undergrad, UW-Eau Claire (1985-87)

"We are extremely excited that Erik will be working on a day-to-day basis with the Wisconsin basketball program," head coach Bo Ryan said. "He is renowned in the field of strength and conditioning and specifically basketball training. Erik has the experience and background to maximize athletes and understands the physicality and quickness needed for our game. He has worked with some of the best basketball players in the history of the game and we believe his addition is beyond a home run for us."

"I get excited to work with great people, and that is what this opportunity represents to me first and foremost," Helland said. "I think that the core values and principles that Coach Ryan has built this program on are ones that we share and make it a great fit for me. For me, it is right people, at the right place, at the right time."

Helland's tenure with the Bulls included six NBA championships, including a pair of three-peats, and an NBA record 72 regular-season wins in 1995-96.

"From a philosophical perspective I view the players as individuals, bound together by a common goal," Helland explained. We will strive to create a positive, educational environment where the players' perception of who they are as athletes and people, and who they can be will be challenged daily.

"I have been blessed to have been around exceptional coaches and players my whole career. I have seen great successes and great failures, but each of those experiences have taught life lessons, and I try to share these lessons whenever appropriate. I see my role primarily as a teacher and a mentor, and I am beyond excited to be able to have a part in our student-athletes development at the University of Wisconsin."

Following 13 seasons as an assistant, Helland took over the reins of the strength program in 2001, where his duties included conducting some of the most comprehensive testing protocols in the NBA, assisting in pre-NBA Draft workouts and NBA free agent assessments.

Helland has consulted with numerous college and professional strength and conditioning programs, and has worked extensively with athletes from the NFL and European Basketball Leagues, as well as professional, collegiate and high school athletes from nearly every sport.

"Everyone we talked to about Erik reaffirmed what we believed about him, that he is first class and is admired across the field," Ryan added. "He is the guy that everyone calls to consult on hirings and trends in the industry. His personality will fit in instantly and we're thrilled that he really wants to be a part of our program and be among the UW and Madison community."

Prior to his stint with the Bulls, Helland coached at Elk Mound (Wis.) High School and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

A native of Edgerton, Wis., Helland is a 1987 graduate of UW-Eau Claire where he earned his degree in physical education with an emphasis on athletic training and coaching. Helland and his wife, Michele, have two sons, Gunnar and Trevar.


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