On May 31, 2102, Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin appointed Nicodemus Christopher to oversee all strength and conditioning efforts related to the men's basketball program. Christopher had spent the previous year as a speed and conditioning coordinator at Purdue.
During his first season with the Volunteers, his impact was never more evident than when Tennessee outlasted Texas A&M on the road in four overtimes. It was the longest game in UT's hardwood history, with five players logging more than 40 minutes and three Vols playing at least 53 minutes.
"In my one year here at Tennessee, we've made great gains under coach Martin's leadership," Christopher said. "I'm excited about the improvements I'm seeing - both in the weight room and on the court. This current team has immeasurable potential, and I believe the time has come for all the hard work and dedication to pay off.
"I'm glad to be a member of the Tennessee family."
Christopher's unique blend of high-performance training experience and passion for developing elite athletes stands out to Martin.
"He's the kind of guy that has the ability to drive you at a high level," Martin said. "He pushes you to that wall, forces you to knock that wall down and doesn't allow you to give up. But then he also gives you a big hug after the workout and lets you know we're going do the same thing tomorrow."
It didn't take long for the Tennessee players to notice that Christopher blends an intense energy with a big-brother approach.
"He's great because of how much he cares," current Vols swingman A.J. Davis said. "He's going to do whatever he can to get you bigger, faster and stronger."
Christopher was responsible for the sports performance programs for softball and track and field at Purdue during the 2011-12 academic year, while also assisting with men's basketball.
A native of San Diego, Calif., Christopher has previous experience as an assistant sports performance coach at Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) in Tyler, Texas, and he worked as a sports performance coach at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas. During his time in Dallas, he helped train members of the NHL's Dallas Stars and the FC Dallas MLS franchise. He also assisted with NFL training camp preparation and off-season workouts for NFL standouts such as Marion Barber, Bradie James, Akin Ayodele, Donald Driver and Weslye Saunders, just to name a few.
He received a bachelor's degree in health and human performance from Baylor (2007) and a master's degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on biomechanics and anatomical kinesiology from the University of Texas at Tyler (2010).
As a graduate instructor for biomechanics and anatomical kinesiology at Texas-Tyler from August 2008 through May 2010, Christopher taught students to apply the principles of physics to human movement, such as athletic tasks, in order to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. His courses also examined how the laws of physics apply to biological systems such as the human body.
Christopher was a volunteer assistant strength and conditioning coach under the guidance of Keith D'Amelio at Stanford in the fall of 2010, and he is a USA Weightlifting (USAW) certified sport performance coach.
During his time as an undergraduate at Baylor, Christopher sat on the executive boards of both the African Student Association and the Association of Black Students.