Coaches

Head Coach & Co-Owner:

Kevin Doyle

Coach Doyle Is Currently The Head Strength And Conditioning Coach at Trinity College in Hartford, CT as well the Healthy Body Healthy Minds Curriculum Coordinator for the Town of Cromwell Public School System, as well as the Strength & Conditioning Coach at Cromwell High School.

Coach Doyle has had a lifelong passion for athletics and competition. A Hartford native, Kevin played football, track and lacrosse in high school and prep school at Northwest Catholic High School and Suffield Academy. He played football during his college years at Assumption College. He was also a competitive power lifter until 2006. In 2003, he became a strength and conditioning coach at Northwest Catholic High School. During his time with the school, Kevin helped coach their football team to five consecutive conference titles. The members of his team were recognized as the best conditioned high school athletes by a study conducted by the UCONN Kinesiology department in association with Gatorade. In 2005, Kevin became a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer. While working at Northwest Catholic High School, Kevin ran his FASST (Functional Athletic Strength and Speed Training) sport specific training camps for athletes from 5th grade up through college level. In 2009, Kevin earned his purple belt under Fabiano Teles with a hard-fought 1st place finish at the 1st Connecticut Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Tournament.

In June 2011, Kevin went to become a Level 1 CrossFit Instructor. He realized that CrossFit was the most effective method to train the students at Underdog Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the gym which he co-owned. Soon after receiving his certification, Coach Doyle established CrossFit Hartford, a CrossFit Affiliate in the same building as Underdog.

Currently Held Certificates: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor, CrossFit Kids Instructor, USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, CrossFit Strongman, CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Football

Assistant Coaches:

John Durrett

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Coach Durrett is currently the Head Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at Trinity College, as well as the Head Assistant Coach at CrossFit Hartford, and the primary nutrition specialist at the gym.

Coach Durrett’s history with fitness is a long story of failures and successes. In 2007, John graduated High School weighing around 310 pounds: although he had been heavy his whole life, this was the most he had ever weighed. During his sophomore year at UConn, he decided he had to do something or risk serious health complications. Immersing himself in the study of nutrition and exercise, he worked his way down to 200 pounds before joining Underdog in October, 2010. Working with Coach Doyle, he managed to reach a low of 180 pounds, and when Kevin embarked to regain his CrossFit certification, John went with him, becoming a Level 1 CrossFit Instructor. He now competes in a variety of Olympic Weightlifting, Strongman, Power-lifting, and CrossFit style events.

Current Certificates Held: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor, CrossFit Kids Instructor, USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, CrossFit Strongman, CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Football, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Josh Kaplan

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Josh is Currently The Head Wrestling Coach at Canton High School and Underdog BJJ as well as an Assistant CrossFit Coach at CF Hartford.

Josh began training at Underdog in August, 2009. He brings a wealth of wrestling experience to the academy, serving as its wrestling instructor. Josh has been involved in the sport of wrestling for over 12 years, wrestling all four years of his attendance at Canton High School in Connecticut, and then at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.

At the 2009 NAGA NAGC competition Josh took first place in his first ever BJJ tournament, placing first in both the white belt and beginner no-gi divisions, winning ten matches total for the day, four by submission. Josh earned his blue belt for that performance, making him the fastest person to ever earn a blue belt under Professor Teles.

In addition to his love of grappling, Josh has long been interested in fitness, conditioning, trail-running and adventure sports. After Coaches Doyle and Durrett got their certifications, it was simply a matter of time before Josh went out to get his own. In December, 2011, Josh sought his own certification, and passed the examination with flying colors. He joins the staff as a CrossFit Level 1 Instructor.

Current Certificates Held: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor, CrossFit Strongman, CrossFit Gymnastics

Ben Norland

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Ben is currently a full time Science teacher for the West Hartford Public School system, an assistant Coach at CrossFit Hartford.

Considered the most handsome member of the CrossFit Hartford staff, Coach Norland began training at Underdog in August of 2011. His dedication to fitness stems directly from his life-long love of sports and the outdoors. Ben grew up playing soccer and tennis and has coached both at the high school level. A goalkeeper in college and beyond Ben also played ultimate frisbee and has appeared in tournaments in the U.S. and abroad. An avid backpacker, tele-skier, cyclist, and trail runner, Coach Norland has carried large loads long distances all over New England, the midwest, the Rockies, Mt. Kilimanjaro and through the Kalahari Desert. His competitions include marathons and the Canadian Death Race and local Weightlifting and Strongman competitions.

Coach Norland’s second love to the outdoors is teaching. A high school science teacher by day Ben loves working with people of all ages as they challenge themselves and expand their capacities. Under the fine tutelage of Coaches Doyle and Durrett, Ben nurtured his interest in fitness and health into a professional passion; one he is thrilled to share as a Level 1 Instructor at CrossFit Hartford.

Current Certificates Held: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor, CrossFit Strongman, CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer

Matt Grocki

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Coach Grocki works as part of the Healthy Body Healthy Minds Program in his hometown of Cromwell in addition to his duties at CrossFit Hartford

Coach Grocki has had a long history with a wide variety of sports. Growing up, he played several sports at a recreational level, including basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey and golf. He had an early interest in BMX, and has been an active snowboarder for over 20 years. During his time in college achieving a degree in Journalism, sports fell to the wayside and he began to get heavy, eventually reaching a weight of 235. He decided he had to make a change, and found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Working for the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) allowed Matt to travel to locations around the world, training with a wide variety of masters. He found Underdog Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu around 3 years ago, and now holds a Purple Belt under Fabiano Teles. He also began to take advantage of the Strength and Conditioning classes at the school, which would later become CrossFit Hartford. After the CrossFit culture really started to emerge in the gym, he found himself growing more and more engaged in classes, often helping newer students. After trying his hand at the 2011 CrossFit Open, he decided to go for his Level 1 Training Certificate. Coach Grocki is a welcome addition to the CrossFit Hartford training staff, with a knowledgeable and laid-back teaching style that helps students new and old feel comfortable and confident with their workouts. He also insists that he is just as handsome as Coach Norland.

Current Certificates Held: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor

Ben “The Bonesaw” Coker

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Coach Ben Coker was born and raised in Vineland, New Jersey where he began his athletic career at the early age of 7 years old, playing football and baseball. His athletic abilities led him to serve leadership positions from middle school throughout college.  Coach Coker was a two sport athlete from Vineland High School and operated as team captain his senior year for the football team.  Due to his commitment shown on and off the field, and his ability to play multiple positions, he was selected to play in the all-star “Hall of Fame” game of the state of New Jersey.  Coach Coker attended Florida Atlantic University from 2000-2004 where he played Division IA Football under the honorable coach Howard Schnellennberger.  Through dedication in the weight room combined with his understanding and studying of the game, Coach Coker moved his way up from a walk-on in 2000 to the starting scholarship recipient tight end in 2002. He proved to be a vital part of the receiving core having multiple reception games, with his first college reception and touchdown against the University of South Florida. After college, Coach Coker’s love for a teamwork environment led him to his career as a Firefighter/Paramedic.  He attended Coral Springs Fire Academy in 2006 where he graduated at the top of his class receiving the “outstanding student award.”  Coach Coker was hired in 2008 by the West Hartford Fire Department where he has multiple “life saving” awards. Fitness has always been not just a hobby, but a lifestyle for Coach Coker.  His initial experience with CrossFit has led him to achieve his Level 1 CrossFit Certification. Coach Coker now is a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Hartford as well as the head assistant Strength and Conditioning coach for the Trinity Bantams football team. He is clearly the real“most attractive coach” at CrossFit Hartford.

Current Certificates Held: CrossFit Level-1 Instructor

Nathan Pagan

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Nathan Pagan comes to CrossFit Hartford with a formidable athletic background. He was a Junior National Tae Kwon Do Champion. He was a Division 1AA Football player at Central Connecticut State University, where he played running back, full back, free safety, and captained the team his senior year, and was a 4-time NEC Academic All Conference athlete. In addition, he was the 2013 NSCA Strength and Conditioning All-American Athlete of the Year. After interning at Central and CrossFit Hartford as a strength coach, he earned a degree in Exercise Science attained with honors. A certified ACSM Health Fitness Specialist, Nathan brings a not only athletic prowess but a strong coaching background to the gym. He trains on both sides of the mat here, aspiring to be a high level Olympic Weightlifter and to debut as a professional MMA fighter. He works at Trinity College as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, and teaches regularly at CrossFit Hartford.

Certificates/Degrees Held: BS in Exercise Science from CCSU, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist

Stephanie Barry

stephStephanie Barry has always had a passion for athletics.  Growing up in Pembroke Massachusetts she was a 3 sport varsity athlete playing field hockey, basketball, and tennis. Stephanie showed her leadership skills as a captian for all three sports her senior year. She was a league All Star  and Patriot Ledger all scholastic for field hockey 2003-2005.   After high school she went on to play field hockey for Bridgewater state college where she was the team MVP in 2008. At BSC Stephanie majored in exercise science and graduated Suma Cum Laude. Her passion for  athletics led her to work as a personal trainer and a coach for field hockey at Silver Lake Regional High School.  She was hooked after her first crossfit WOD (Mary) in 2012 and has finally found her home at Crossfit Hartford after a recent move to Connecticut.

Certificates/Degrees Held: BS in Exercise Science, NSCA CSCS

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