AMHERST >> When Jordan Fiske first arrived on the University of Massachusetts campus, he wanted to help the football team by playing and maybe scoring a touchdown or two.
Now, the former Wahconah Regional football player is trying to help some of his former teammates get into the end zone. Fiske is working as an intern with the strength and conditioning program at UMass, working under director of Sports Performance and head football strength coach Joe Connolly.
In that role, Fiske works in the weight room and helps coach the younger Minutemen.
"I've always liked weight lifting," he said. "I just decided this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
Fiske has been working with the rest of the paid strength and conditioning staff on preparing the Minutemen for the 2016 football season.
UMass begins its season Saturday night in Gainesville, Fla., when the Minutemen travel to play SEC power Florida. UMass follows that up with four straight home games, including a Sept. 10 date with Bay State rival Boston College.
The Dalton native was a preferred walk-on at UMass, but after moving from tight end to fullback, injuries took their toll and he was forced to the sidelines.
"It was an accumulation of all the years of abuse on my back. I had a misaligned vertebra," he said. "It's not me wanting to stop because I wasn't playing. My body couldn't hold up any more."
While he had been around the game since he was a youngster, Fiske said that being an X's and O's coach isn't in the future. Working with young athletes to be ready to win on Saturdays, however, is.
"It's definitely nice coming straight from playing. I stopped playing last September, on a Wednesday or something," said Fiske. "That Monday after we played Temple, I was in the weight room as an intern with Mike Golden.
"From the point of view that I had, I was right there with the guys, and I can give them pointers and advice on how not to get into trouble and that made the transition much easier."
During the spring semester, Fiske was working at UMass' "Muscle Beach," where injured guys who could not go at full blast got to work on what they could to get stronger. He was in the equipment room during the summer and has helped out during summer camp with the running backs.
"I miss it every day," said Fiske. "I don't miss the grind. I definitely miss the atmosphere, the playing and the adrenaline. But I still enjoy what I'm doing.
"I'm still around the game. I just see it from a different standpoint."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.